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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 08:55 PM
Original message
NIH: the vast increase in autism cases is real, the cause is unknown,
and much more research is still needed.

NIH Director: "Everyone is desperate to find answers to what we see as an urgent problem."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/magazine/mag-24Autism...

SNIP

We still do not have an explanation for the vast majority of autism cases, says Thomas Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, who is in charge of coordinating the $120 million worth of research being conducted on autism there. With regard to autism, Insel calls himself a prophet of humility.

Most researchers say that there is a rise in the number of children who are landing somewhere on the autism spectrum and that only some portion of that increase can be explained by raised awareness of the disorder. In this decade alone, Insel says, diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (which includes mild cases) have jumped to 1 in 110, from 1 in 150; in boys, its now 1 in 70. He worries that the rate is accelerating. I would say I am losing sleep over this, Insel says.

What has become increasingly clear to Insel is that something is to blame. Some environmental factor is, or many environmental factors are, interacting with certain gene types, yielding who knows how many different pathways to the same disease. And although many parents think they know with instinctual certainty what that factor was in their own child, researchers havent found anything that looks like a smoking gun, Insel says. To him, the M.M.R. vaccine, so aggressively studied since the media splash following Wakefields 1998 paper, is one of the few factors that can be ruled out. But could it be aspartame? UV rays? Elmo? No one knows.

With autism, people have done this all along grasped onto various explanations and reached premature closure on each of them, Insel says of Wakefields work. What I take from the Wakefield story is that everyone is desperate to find answers to what we see as an urgent problem. And if Im really brutally honest about this, we still dont have an answer.

SNIP

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
1. Who gives aspartame to children?
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Dolts. n/t
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MH1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. I suspect many nursing mothers use it. nt
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Snoutport Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. it is lowfat yogurt
a lot of people just don't read labels.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. Same ones who give them Splenda. nt
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CoffeeCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
14. Most likely...EVERYONE...
Aspartame is in 6,000 products and is almost unavoidable.

It's in all Diet sodas, powdered drinks, gum, mints, cereals. It's even in Flinstone's Vitamins.

As a parent, I try to give my kids foods that are low sugar. I do this to prevent other diseases
and health conditions--but unfortunately, if it's low sugar or sugar free--it contains aspartame.

My kids love Kashi whole wheat waffles with maple syrup. So we buy sugar-free maple syrup. A
1/4 cup of regular syrup has 40 grams of sugar and 200 calories. The comparable sugar-free maple
syrup has no sugar and 30 calories. However, there is Aspartame.

What is a parent to do?

It's in everything--drinkable yogurt, etc.
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:20 AM
Response to Reply #14
29. I can't imagine why an active child would need fake food.
No sugar, no energy. There is a reason we can taste sweet. We NEED it. Not phony garbage to trick our brains but the Real Stuff so those brains can properly develop.

No wonder our children can't think. We're starving their brains of fuel.

You have shocked me to my bones.
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CoffeeCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #29
45. Oh come on...
I'm starving my children's brains because I give them sugar free maple syrup and some low sugar substitutes in order
to avoid exhorbitant amounts of sugar? Oh please. Sugar is bad. It's just as bad as the sugar subtitutes.

You're suggesting that if my kids don't get sugar, they aren't getting any energy. That is ridiculous. I've actually
never heard anyone claim that our children need more sugar or that depriving them of sugar means that they won't
have any energy.

My children eat healthy. I pack their lunches. They eat high protein, lots of veggies and fruit and lean
chicken and whole grains. Children sure as hell don't need refined, processed sugar to have energy. If you're
talking about natural sugars in fruit, that's another thing. But loads of refined sugar in Fruit Loops and maple
syrup is not only non-essential--it's bad for kids--and adults!

I eat very healthy and I work out 2 hours a day. I have plenty of energy and golly--but I get my energy from
healthy foods, fruits and veggies, not from sugar.

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #45
55. If it's sugar-free, it isn't maple syrup.
And if maple syrup is so terrible, why not give them fake fruit as well? What, in the process that gets maple syrup from maple trees is so alien and dangerous?

Your diet seems so sane and then it goes on a Voyage of the Damned over maple syrup?
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:23 AM
Response to Reply #14
32. JMO better to go for the real sugar, watch the intake
just a little for a sweet flavor and make sure they are active to burn it off. All that stuff that is used to replace sugar, no telling what that does to the mind and body in the long run. It seems like it's bad enough for an adult but for children :scared:.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
30. Aspartame causes me to have massive headaches, I don't care about the retarded double blind...
...experiments claiming otherwise.

I drink about 1.5 gallons of water a day (I do construction and it's a sweaty job, I also run and exercise so this is not excessive in the least for me). I drink iced tea (with 1/4th a cup of granular sugar per gallon, just enough to get rid of the bitterness). I tried "getting off of the sugar" with aspartame-lemonaid mixes. At the level of water consumption I have it is quite simply is impossible, it is like drinking poison. I get blinding migraines that will not quit, and I am a person who never gets headaches, not from reading, lack of sleep (I've regularly gone 48+ hours without sleep in the past few weeks). You put me in your fucking aspartame experiment and I guarantee you I will show a response to the shit.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:43 AM
Response to Reply #30
35. I had a different neurological symptom.
"Periodic limb movement disorder" -- involuntary jerking of my limbs while I slept, to the point where it disturbed my sleep hundreds of times a night.

There's definitely something about aspartame, at least in some of us.
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #35
91. I never use Aspartame. I hate the taste. I use saccharin as a sugar substitute. nt
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 10:34 PM by tblue37
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Sienna86 Donating Member (505 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #30
43. Aspartame gives me a headache too
Even a mistaken sip of a diet soda causes a headache. I don't let me children have anything with aspartame, of any name. One child has the same reaction, another doesn't.

We use real maple syrup. Sparingly, yes, due to the costs.
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October Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #43
67. SAME! And it's immediate!
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anneboleyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #43
93. And me! I get intense headaches, immediately. For a long time I had no idea what was causing it
When I was an undergrad I was eating these otherwise delightful yogurts for a couple of weeks, and I kept getting terrible headaches (I didn't eat any other products that contained aspartame). My roommate at the time asked me if the yogurts had aspartame in them (as she also got headaches), and sure enough, they did, so I discovered that I had an allergy or whatever issue it is that makes one extremely sensitive to aspartame.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #30
73. Casually using ther term "retarded" in a thread about the increased incidence of a disorder that
affects mental development is... tunedeaf, to put it mildly. Please consider not using that term at all. Thanks!
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #30
79. The headache's are probably from your body thinking there is incoming sugar.
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 03:04 PM by Odin2005
It's not the aspartame itself, all sweet-tasting substances trigger a physiological response to prepare to metabolize sugar, but artificial sweeteners have no sugar.

And please do not use the word "retarded".
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October Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
66. It's in many products --
I have an immediate bad reaction to it.

It's in all the gums, mints, lots of yogurts, etc.

I find it so bitter -- I nearly spew it out if I taste it by accident. Like poison to me.
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L0oniX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
82. Donald Rumsfeld does.
http://www.newswithviews.com/NWVexclusive/exclusive15.h...

<snip>In 1981, the newly appointed FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes, ignored the negative ruling and approved aspartame for dry goods. As recorded in the Congressional Record of 1985, then CEO of Searle Laboratories Donald Rumsfeld said that he would "call in his markers" to get aspartame approved. Rumsfeld was on President Reagan's transition team and a day after taking office appointed Hayes. No FDA Commissioner in the previous sixteen years had allowed aspartame on the market.

<snip>According to the top doctors and researchers on this issue, aspartame causes headache, memory loss, seizures, vision loss, coma and cancer. It worsens or mimics the symptoms of such diseases and conditions as fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue and depression. Further dangers highlighted is that aspartame liberates free methyl alcohol. The resulting chronic methanol poisoning affects the dopamine system of the brain causing addiction. Methanol, or wood alcohol, constitutes one third of the aspartame molecule and is classified as a severe metabolic poison and narcotic.

<snip>Defendants in the lawsuits include Coca-cola, PepsiCo, Bayer Corp., the Dannon Company, William Wrigley Jr. Company, Walmart, ConAgra Foods, Wyeth, Inc., The NutraSweet Company, and Altria Corp. (parent company of Kraft Foods and Philip Morris).
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bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 09:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. 1 in 70 boys? That is really appalling.
And is this just an American phenomenon or is it seen elsewhere in the US.

I think it is rather fair to say that the educational development of boys is now markedly worse off than girls, although there are many reasons for that that go beyond just autism and Aspergers.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 09:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. The numbers are just as high in Britain, I know. I understand
they're going up in all the developed countries -- wherever they're doing the research.
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DonCoquixote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 09:26 PM
Response to Original message
5. do they mean full blown autism
or include asberger's?
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. "On the spectrum" means they're including Asbergers.
From the link in the OP:

Most researchers say that there is a rise in the number of children who are landing somewhere on the autism spectrum and that only some portion of that increase can be explained by raised awareness of the disorder. In this decade alone, Insel says, diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (which includes mild cases) have jumped to 1 in 110, from 1 in 150; in boys, its now 1 in 70. He worries that the rate is accelerating. I would say I am losing sleep over this, Insel says.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. Asperger's. Spell it right, please.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:04 AM
Response to Reply #17
28.  I usually do. This time I slipped and copied the post before mine.
Sorry!
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #28
44. No problem. It's a common typo that annoys the crap out of me.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #44
63. LOL, Odin, you remind me so much of my aspie
son (who will be twenty years old tomorrow, holy SHIT I'm getting old!); I always enjoy your posts.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #63
75. Thanks!
:hi:
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:33 AM
Original message
Oops, double post.
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 10:40 AM by liberalhistorian
nt
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #44
64. TRIPLE post, sheesh!
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 10:41 AM by liberalhistorian
nt
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DonCoquixote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:18 AM
Response to Reply #17
37. my speel check failed I guess
but you get the point, not that Asperger's is fun (as I know all too well) but the day more severe cases of autism become more common, we know something is very, very wrong.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
6. My guess, it's linked to some sort of inflammation causing neurological problems
Edited on Sun Apr-24-11 09:32 PM by KittyWampus
roughly analogous to fibromyalgia.

And that inflammation is most likely linked to environmental pollutants.

Maybe culprits in industrialized food chain?
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 10:10 PM
Original message
.
Edited on Sun Apr-24-11 10:11 PM by franzia99
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Good guesses. My additional guesses are more older people having kids
Also, I wondering if this could have something to do with the devolution of the Y chromosome. Some researchers are saying that the Y chromosome is devolving. If true, you'd expect to see males suffering from more and more genetic problems over time. Though I don't have anything specifically linking this to autism.

Note though that the article says that increasing parental age by itself couldn't account for the increase in cases of autism.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/health/09autism.html

Previous research found that the risk of autism grew with the age of the father. The new study suggested that when the father was over 40 and the mother under 30, the increased risk was especially pronounced 59 percent greater than for younger men.

By contrast, for women 30 and older, the risk of autism rose 13 percent when the father was over 40.

One such study analyzed a large Israeli military database and found that children of fathers 40 or older were more than five times as likely to have an autism disorder as those whose fathers were under 30.

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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. So Viagra causes autism? nt
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #12
21. lol
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TalkingDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #10
27. So it is an injection that's causing the problem....
Need some use-by dates on those swimmers.

(sorry, couldn't resist)
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Alcibiades Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #10
56. Also a good guess, but that's not it either
It's a fairly obvious possible causal variable, but it's not the real variable of interest, and is included in the "we just don't know" message that is the take-home message of the article.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=autism...

"Maternal age is also increasing in the U.S. A California-based study reported a three-fold increase in the number of births to women aged 40 to 44 between 1982 and 2004. But this trend toward delayed childbearing accounted for less than 5 percent of the total increase in autism diagnoses in California over the decade, according to the studya finding that surprised Janie Shelton, a doctoral student in University of California, Davis's Department of Public Health Sciences and the study's lead author. "I would have expected to see more of a contribution, because age is a risk factor and women are having kids later," she says."

In other words, 95% of the observed increase in autism-spectrum disorders is not related to maternal age (the article also note that some of the data suggesting that advanced paternal age may be a cause is due to errors in pooling observations in an earlier study). This may be consistent with something environmental, though: older women would have been exposed to whatever environmental factor it might be for a longer period of time, which could account for some of the increased risk.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
13. If there is an "epidemic" then why is the incidence of autism the same in adults?
Edited on Sun Apr-24-11 10:59 PM by Odin2005
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

"ASD is just as common in adults as it is in children. Researchers at the University of Leicester, working with the NHS Information Center found that roughly 1 in 100 adults are on the spectrum the same rate found for children in England, Japan, Canada and, for that matter, New Jersey."

There is no epidemic, this is whipped-up hysteria.

The incidence has likely ALWAYS been 1/100, most people where just extremely ignorant of it until 20 years ago. Low-functioning individuals were labeled with Mental Retardation. Higher-functioning individuals went undiagnosed or were mis-diagnosed with ADHD, Schizoid Personality Disorder, Childhood Schizophrenia, or other conditions.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Other researchers say there is a vast increase. I'm going with the NIH Director's opinion. n/t
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Other reasearchers NEVER STUDIED THE MATURE ADULT POPULATION.
Most research on autism is almost pathologically obsessed with autistic kids, us autistic adults are virtually ignored and this creates a bias among researchers, especially with all the hysteria-mongering groups like Autism Speaks spouting nonsense into people's minds.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. The NIH is well aware of and even funds studies of the adult population.
Edited on Sun Apr-24-11 11:30 PM by pnwmom
But you should just try talking to some teachers. My three children were spread out in ages, so I was able to observe 15 years of elementary classrooms (as a regular classroom volunteer). There was a large increase in the number of spectrum kids over those years. My youngest had 4 spectrum kids in a 5th grade class of 28.
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WatsonT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #13
48. Prior to modern medicine cancer rates were zero
so were infectious diseases, heart disease and so on. People just died randomly.

What changed between now and then to lead to this explosion in new disorders?

/we have effectively eliminated deaths due to witchcraft and evil spirits though.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #13
72. Good point.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
85. You said a mouthful, Odin!
We have ALWAYS been out there, LOTS of us, and we've been labeled everything from ADD, "maladjusted," schizoid, poorly parented, and a million other cock-and-bull diagnoses. I know. I was on the receiving end of several of them in the late 1960s-early 1970s.

Now that there is an actual diagnosis, it is being slapped on every borderline "odd" kid.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:10 PM
Response to Original message
19. It's got to be something environmental
Wish we could figure out what it was.
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. Agree that's a likely suspect. There was a big increase in CA which is notorious for being polluted
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:41 AM
Response to Reply #19
34. A lot of researchers these days think more than one
environmental factor may be involved, in addition to a physiological predisposition (something biologically or genetically caused). That's why teasing this apart is so difficult. Maybe it's a combination of a several factors which, working together, result in the autism syndrome.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:46 AM
Response to Reply #19
41. A very interesting theory correlates early TV watching with ASDs.
Linking the "explosion" of autism cases, if there really is one, to the advent of cable TV and there always being something you can set your kid down in front of the box to watch.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:19 PM
Original message
Interesting, perhaps. Full of horseshit, highly likely
A) Kids have been plopped down in front of the tube by lazy parents for decades.

B) My spectrum child never was too interested in the tv, actually. I doubt my child watched more than 20 hours of tv in the first year of life.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
89. Actually it was a careful study.
And it found a correlation in ASD rates in areas that got cable TV as well as those that had increased precipitation (and thus more days indoors watching TV). You might not like what it says, but you are in no way qualified to call it "full of horseshit."

So regarding A), the type and quantity of programming for kids is greatly different today vs. 40 years ago.

And regarding B), one data point does nothing to dispute statistics.

But I have a feeling you already want to blame something else, so you aren't interested in any real research that's been done.
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WatsonT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #19
49. Why?
It's a newly diagnosed disorder.

Of course the rates are going to go up from zero.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #49
54. It's not newly diagnosed at all
What gave you that idea?
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WatsonT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #54
57. Autism wasn't defined as a seperate disorder until the 60s
considering that it takes a while for psychological disorders to gain acceptance that's pretty new.

Psychologists must be trained, parents must be educated and so on before testing becomes widespread. It's not something that can be easily tested like "has your arm been torn off by a lion? Step 1: check to see if arm is there . . . ".


Prior to the 60s it was often lumped in with something else: mental retardation, schizophrenia, etc.

Seperating it out as it's own disorder of course led to an increase in diagnosis because previously it was at zero.

For instance: if have no way of telling different types of cancer apart then all cancers are simply lumped together. If we all of a sudden discover a way to determine whether it's lung cancer or not then the rates of lung cancer will go up in proportion to the amount of people who know how to look for it.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #54
76. Dupe.
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 02:55 PM by Odin2005
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #54
77. It was barely known by most psychiatrists before the 80s.
Before then most were misdiagnosed. "Childhood Schizophrenia" was a common misdiagnosis for autistics back in the day.

It was Temple Grandin's first book, Emergence, that changed that.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
20. My hypothesis is pre-natal
exposure to ultrasound.

Almost no baby has been born in this country in the past thirty years without having been exposed to ultrasound a minimum of once, and usually several times.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:20 AM
Response to Reply #20
23. If exposure is universal, but symptoms are not...
then you wind up with the same problem as most of the "environmental factors" arguments have - why one kid gets it and another doesn't.
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. Exposure isn't necessarily universal though. Some land/food/air could be contaminated and some not.
Plus, like with radiation exposure for example, a small percentage will get cancer and the rest won't. Some of it is random luck, some of it is the ability of your cells to deal with radiation exposure. Here, it's probably the case that not everyone has had the same exposure and that some people are just biologically better able to deal with the contamination than others.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #24
59. Ultrasound was the exposure referred to
as in: "exposure to ultrasound.

Almost no baby has been born in this country in the past thirty years without having been exposed to ultrasound a minimum of once, and usually several times."

Ultrasound could have something to do with it, or could be one triggering factor, but it explains nothing. If everyone experiences "cause" and only a few show "effect", then the question is still what makes people different.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #59
70. My point exactly.
Plus, we all understand that there many situations where exposure to a virus or bacteria or contaminant or whatever, does not inevitably lead to a disease, condition, death, whatever.

If there is an environmental component to the increase in autism, which many people believe is the case, it's obvious (to me at least) that whatever that component is does not trigger autism in 100% of the cases.

Anyway, my exposure to ultrasound hypothesis is just a hypothesis. It would take a lot of research to figure out if that's any kind of a factor. For one thing, autism has been around since long before pre-natal ultrasound became common, so even if it is a factor, it is not the sole cause.

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:45 AM
Response to Reply #23
36. One possible answer is that it's caused by
a combination of a few or even of several factors . . . unless there are enough factors combining together, the autism won't evidence itself. But taking away just one factor won't necessarily reduce the incidence.
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allthatjazz Donating Member (55 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #20
61. I agree SheilaT
And older mothers tend to have ultrasounds more often.
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hugo_from_TN Donating Member (895 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #20
65. I think it's the DH in baseball
The designated hitter rule went into affect in 1973. So almost no baby has been born in this country in the past 38 years that hasn't been exposed to the DH at some point or another. It would be interesting to see a study comparing rates in NL cities vs AL cities.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #65
84. LOL; I know, I shouldn't have...
but it's as valid an analogy as any!
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:35 AM
Response to Original message
25. In this topic, there's far too much belief, and not enough data.
recently, researchers were looking at geographic clusters of autism centered around Seattle and Silicon Valley.

Aha! They said, finally proof! Geeks carry an autism gene! :wtf:
Even a guy who calls himself a lumberjack could see the logical flaw in that one.

At that point, I realized that this discussion is being conducted on a political website because the argument is essentially political. Coke v Pepsi. Mac v PC. Environment v genetics. On one hand are parents who (like me) don't like to think our kids have autism because of a genetic flaw. On the other are people in the business of medicine who don't like to think that they're failing to control an epidemic.
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:40 AM
Response to Original message
26. I don't supose it could that almost anything will be labeled autism now...
where it was once diagnosed to a much more explicit set of symptoms and behaviors. Some friends had to fight their kids school on this issue as the school took the position their son being a smart alec and uninterested in lame recess activities was grounds for such an investigation.
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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #26
58. This is probably it more than anything else
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 10:09 AM by ck4829
I have a relative who got this diagnosis back in school (School and the psychologist apparently didn't take into consideration the fact that he moved to a new school, new neighborhood, parents were getting into a divorce and made him a little withdrawn, and didn't know a single person). The next year he stopped being withdrawn, he got surrounded by friends, made all sorts of achievements, and another psychologist promptly kicked the diagnosis out the window.

Instead of spending all this money focusing on genes and getting all bent out of shape about vaccines, maybe we should be doing some investigating into how and why we label our kids if they don't immediately and totally conform.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 02:40 AM
Response to Original message
31. If you are a person over 55, you may have grown up in a close-knit neighborhood
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 02:41 AM by SoCalDem
and really knew your neighbors.. Everyone pretty much knew everyone's "business", and family secrets often were not secrets for long.. That being said, I can say that I only ever knew of ONE family who had a mentally challenged child, and that child had Down Syndrome. She was the much-loved 7th child, and only daughter in the family.

I KNOW that the diagnostic sciences have identified kids now, who may have been mildly challenged then and who would have escaped diagnosis back then. There were special ed classes back then but the kids in those classes had physical disabilities, and back then schools had no ramps of facilities for handicapped kids.. Their curriculums were probably the same as the rest of the kids.

There was a tendency back then for severely handicapped kids to be institutionalized, but unless you were from a wealthy family, the cost was pretty prohibitive, so I don't think that was the norm.

I wonder if studies have been done in areas of the world where there is a more natural diet, and minimal "modern" medical intervention, and if they also have a rise in incidences.

It seems as though many current & recent studies are somehow related to groups who have an "axe to grind", and whichever "side" of the issue one is on, there is a vociferous and immediate push back from the other...meanwhile kids are being sentenced to a lifetime of impairment, in a country that does not seem at all interested in helping out financially.. Families are being financially/emotionally ruined every day by a diagnosis that seems to have more questions than answers.

My friend has a profoundly autistic son who is now 17, and over 6 ft tall. She and her husband agonize every day about what will become of him, and how their other son (the younger brother) will be his brother's keeper for his whole life. He does not appear to mind, but it bothers the hell out of them, because they have practically spent themselves into the poorhouse. As he gets older, it's harder to care for him because his body is that of a man, and he is extremely strong. He has pushed my friend (his Mom) , has bitten her, and has hit her many times..

He was fine until he was 2 and a half..talking up a storm, coloring, singing, playing ball with his dad, and in a month's time, all the lights went out (paraphrasing Mom)



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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:37 AM
Original message
This is the painful secret of so many families.
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 03:47 AM by pnwmom
The children who were different, but manageable, can become much harder to care for as adolescents and adults -- and it's not unheard of for them to become violent with their own parents. Profoundly autistic teens and adults can tear families apart. What could be more painful than having to call 911 because your 200 lb. autistic son is out of control?

If there are environmental factors that are behind the increases, we have an urgent obligation to identify them. Yes, people with mild Asperger's can and do contribute a lot to society -- but if there are environmental factors that can change a child's destiny from mild autism or Aspergers to profound autism, then we need to identify these factors as quickly as we can.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:37 AM
Response to Reply #31
33. delete
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 03:46 AM by pnwmom
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:18 AM
Response to Reply #31
38. You bring up a good point. Is there any public support for people this severe?
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 06:21 AM by franzia99
The thought of having to deal with a very hard to care for person like that on your own for the rest of their life seems overwhelming. Are there group homes or anything?

And yah, the fact that he was developing normally and then suddenly wasn't makes it sound like some environmental factor must be at play. How can someone regress so much and so quickly like that?
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #31
74. I suspect that there may indeed be lower rates of autism in countries where there is less medical
intervention.

Why? Because babies with health problems that could put them at risk for autism - and many with no such problems - don't survive in these countries!

I would prefer a medical system where almost all babies survive, than one where 20% or more die before the age of 5. Even if the rate of autism is a little higher in the former.

While children with severe disabilities in the past were not necessarily institutionalized, they were much less likely to attend mainstream schools, but were kept at home or attended special classes.

It is a great pity and indeed crime that too little financial assistance is given to help people with disabilities such as autism, but emulating developing countries in terms of diet and (lack of) medical treatment is quite the revers of the way to go.



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Modern_Matthew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:28 AM
Response to Original message
39. My uneducated guess is evolution. Autistic people are extraordinary. nt
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:03 AM
Response to Reply #39
42. Only a small percentage are savants. I think I saw a stat showing a large number to be retarded.
I think it was like 75% or something. A large number of autistic people are impaired by it.
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #39
46. Uneducated indeed. nt
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WatsonT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #39
50. Evolution doesn't work that way
they'd have to be extraordinary at passing their genes on and it would have to be a heritable trait and it would take a lot longer and the increase wouldn't be so great.

We won't grow wings because it's cool. Evolution doesn't function in that manner.
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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:37 AM
Response to Original message
40. Maybe it's been there all along, there's just better diagnosis now.
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WatsonT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
47. Increased testing following characterization of the disorder
and acceptance by childhood psychologists.

Also parents who are now aware of it and take their kids to get tested.


There, I solved it. Now give me a grant and I'll write it up.
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spinbaby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:59 AM
Response to Original message
51. My personal opinion is that TV is at fault
I think that many children who are marginally autistic can go either way depending on their early environment. If they live in an environment that encourages early socialization and has no TV, they turn out more or less normal; if they're exposed to a lot of TV and video games, they become autistic.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #51
52. It is So Refreshing
to hear someone say they simply don't know, particularly a researcher. That is worthy of respect. It is the first step to finding the right etiology.

There used to a principle held by some physiological psychologists called "equifinality," meaning that the same syndrome can have a variety of wildly different causes. For example, depression may be due to a genetic flaw, chemical suppression of serotonin, a lesion to a certain area of the brain, or a loss of a loved one. All may result in the same symptoms.

I like your idea about TV and videogames. Not that they're evil, but that they may prevent socialization at a critical time in development. On the other hand, there may be some other biological factors which are also at work. If there are multiple causes, it would probably muddy the water and make it that much more difficult to see patterns in the data.
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devils chaplain Donating Member (245 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #51
53. A piece on this theory...
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spinbaby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #53
69. Ineresting, thanks
I find it disturbing to see young children hooked on TV. Several years ago, we checked in to a hotel at Walt Disney World. It had a huge impressive lobby filled with African art and a view of giraffes and zebras grazing on the savanna. All this was lost to the children in the lobby--they were all glued to cartoons on the lobby TV. I may be just a crabby old lady who grew up without a TV, but I can't tell you how disturbing I found the sight of those children ignoring such surroundings in favor of cartoons.

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robdogbucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
60. There is one wild theory out there that seeks to explain
increases in diabetes, autism, breast cancer, etc.

That has to do with those increases in many areas reflecting the precipitation that falls in those areas. It is in conjunction with radiation. The theory is that because the action and progression of radiation buildup they are getting these spikes in these diseases. Further theory is that the allegations that some chemical is responsible is partly correct in my opinion, like mercury and lead, which are everywhere now, but in conjunction with gradual accumulation of radiation in rainfall puts the double whammy on the bodies living in those areas.

Look at the rainfall patterns in Oregon and Washington. The locations for the highest rainfall are the locations with the highest spikes in these diseases, autism, diabetes, breast cancer.

It is just one more theory to throw into the mix.


Just my dos centavos

robdogbucky

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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
62. The cause is simple. A much better understanding
of what the autism spectrum really is (thus, an expansion of those who have it), coupled with vastly better diagnostic understanding and techniques. PERIOD.

My son has Asperger's Syndrome and there is nothing "wrong" with him that needs to be "cured." Indeed, his unique, original perspectives and intelligence has been noted by many teachers and we enjoy it.

Many artists, writers, composers, scientists and inventors throughout history are not thought to have had some form of autism. We would have lost much without them and will lose more with this damn push for what I call "neuroconformity", the current demand that everything think alike and if they don't there's something "wrong" with them that needs to be "cured" and/or eliminated.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #62
68. this is how we feel about my oldest. and what we (including him) say about it
i have never had him tested to receive a specific label. we have spent the time since kindergarten find tools and means for him to excel with his issues. he is an odd child. and perfect exactly how he is. we would not have had nearly the laughs (with him, not at him) if not for the uniqueness. every once in a while like in social environments he will say, he wishes he was not so different, but then he will have a hundred other times he appreciates his difference.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
71. There is some evidence against a massive increase, at any rate in the UK
In the UK, a study showed that if you apply current diagnostic criteria, autism rates are similar (about 1 per cent) in children, younger adults, and older adults. So children do not seem to be more likely to be autistic than older adults, suggesting a change in diagnostic criteria, rather than a real increase.

I suspect that there could still be a slight increase, as a byproduct of the fact that babies who are very premature or sick at birth are more likely to be survive nowadays, and do have an increased risk of autism. 30 years ago, such babies frequently died soon after birth; now they are more likely to survive and to be later diagnosed as autistic.
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conspirator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:00 PM
Response to Original message
78. The cause: MONSANTO foods nt
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #78
80. LOL.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:08 PM
Response to Original message
81. Well, we do know it ain't vaccines.
and the rates are the same for children and adults, so not really an "epidemic" either. I hope we do not have another "Wakefield" incident brewing here.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:29 PM
Response to Original message
83. Part of this - a large part - is better diagnostic techniques
I was born in the mid-1950s. Got the normal vaccines of the day, which were a fraction of what kids get these days. I was a weird kid. A VERY weird kid Bookish, socially inept with peers, highly intelligent, preferred the company of adults, had limited and fanatical interests. I was also "academically gifted" and accelerated two years in school at the outset. Had a ton of social problems, was a constant bully magnet, never fit in anywhere. Finally had two "nervous breakdowns" in my early teens and was diagnosed as everything from "maladjusted" to borderline schizophrenic. None of these were accurate

Thanks to hypnotherapy, Valium and certain self-administered herbal compounds :) the extreme social anxiety resulting from a very traumatic childhood was somewhat controlled and I managed to get through my late teens and early twenties OK. Thrived and excelled when I went to college and and Ivy League law school. I was still odd but in that context it didn't matter. Fell on my face in the professional world due to my social ineptitude and the class structure of my chosen profession, where who your parents were was a big deal. And I was as working class as they come in addition to my social difficulties.

Beat myself up for years for "not getting it", lost job after job despite an academic resume most people would kill for. Then I was diagnosed as Aspergers by three different therapists, including a psychiatrist. That explained everything. As one therapist put it "you raise others' 'red flags' but only on a subconscious level. You project just off enough that people realize it, but not consciously and reject you without even knowing why." I can't do direct eye contact with humans but can with my cat, don't do small talk, have a small set of things I am passionately interested in and don't give much of a hoot about anything else. I am relentlessly logical and I swear I was born an atheist and a skeptic. I've always been that way and always will be. It's the way my brain is wired. I always use Data from STNG as an explanatory example when people ask or are clearly curious about the way I am.

The biggest problem is that nerdy kids like I was (and I am still a nerdy adult) were always out there but there was no name for us. Now that there's a name for it, it can be applied and is, perhaps overly enthusiastically. Not every slightly nerdy or shy kid is on the spectrum. I certainly was. And I suspect most of these diagnoses are made to Asperger's and its cousin HFA. Classic Kanner's autism is pretty damned hard to misdiagnose. Same spectrum but very different presentations.

It's a genetic thing, IMO, and I think these days, with the rise of IT professions that are geek-magnets, more geeks are marrying other geeks and reproducing the neurology of autism spectrum disorders at a higher rate than ever before. Many in the earlier generations of geeks like mine have never had a date much less a relationship.

After years of reading and research, I am convinced that this is a genetic variation related to internal brain wiring, as normal as being gay or left-handed. It's a normal human variation and it just IS. We are born the way we are and nothing can change it. And society had better start getting used to us.

I would not change one thing about myself and am at last comfortable in my own skin. I have issues, but so do neurotypicals, and I would not trade my problems for theirs.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #83
87. Welcome to DU, fellow Aspie!
:hi:
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #87
88. I've been here on and off for six years
finally couldn't reactivate old account & moniker.

Back atcha, Odin! :hi:
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ecstatic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
86. Has anyone investigated a cell phone link?
Radiation? 20 years ago, we weren't this wired: wi-fi everywhere, cell phones everywhere, etc.
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Mimosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #86
90. ^ Good point ^
There are more neurological nervous disorders including fibromyalgia, too.
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StarsInHerHair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:28 PM
Response to Original message
92. what aboutvmercury in high fructosevcorn syrup?
nt
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 02:23 AM
Response to Original message
94. A friend of mine has a 36 yr old autistic daughter.
Also mentally retarded. Is on disability.

Nobody could figure out anything that the mother did wrong during pregnancy. The parents were both young, about 25, and healthy. The mother has some autoimmune disorders.

The daughter watches classical ballet videos all the time and stuff like Fantasia.

I took a video of Gustavo Dudamel conducting Mahler's First to her house, and the girl asked "Can we watch the symphony?" and she watched that several times.

She loves to go the ballet and talks about Prokofiev.

She can more or less read and write, but she's basically a large 220 pound four year old.

Her mother refuses to put her in an institution because they put the girls on birth control pills and let the men rape them at will. That is no life for any female.



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