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Thread: Autism epidemic ?

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    Autism epidemic ?

    Autism epidemic

    According to a recent 'conservative' estimate, there are approximately 500,000 autistic spectrum cases in he United States, including perhaps as many as 1 in 150 children. "With eighty percent of autistic Americans under the age of 18, the dramatic impact of this crisis will be felt by taxpayers in the coming years when these autistic children become adults," says Anne McElroy Dachel of the National Autism Association.

    Autism is the fastest growing population of special needs students in the US, having grown by over 900% between 1992 and 2001, according to data from the United States Department of Education. In 1999, the autism incidence rate in the US was generally cited at 4.5 cases per 10,000 live births. By 2005, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates one of every 250 babies is born with autism, or 40 cases per 10,000.
    ...
    As many as 1.5 million Americans may have some form of autism, including milder variants, and the number is rising. Epidemiologists estimate the number of autistic children in the US could reach 4 million in the next decade.
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    I may have aspergers, but heck if I know. I seem to have everything and all the symptons: Except I have good hand writing, don't have quirky speech, and dont' walk funny. My doctor thinks I don't, but then again, he also thinks i have ADD, something all my other 10 doctors thourghout my life have completely disagreed on.

    I've had extreme obessions, been born 3 months premature and weighed only 1 lb 15 oz at birth, as well as struggled with depression my whole life.
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    No secret that in this day and age everyone with even slightly problematic behaviour needs to be diagnosed with SOMETHING.

    As for autism and its possible rise, i dunno, its sounds a bit alarming and therefor possibly not all it seems to be, i would have to read up more on autism and the latest figures before i could venture a guess as to why, doesnt seem to be a good reason for it.

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    I read an article called The Geek Syndrome, which suggested that children of "geeks" are more likely to be (mildly or strongly) autistic. It's also important to differentiate autism with Asperger's syndrome.

    Quote Originally Posted by wired
    Autism - and its milder cousin Asperger's syndrome - is surging among the children of Silicon Valley. Are math-and-tech genes to blame?
    ...
    In the taxonomy of autism, those with Asperger's syndrome have average - or even very high - IQs, while 70 percent of those with other autistic disorders suffer from mild to severe mental retardation.
    I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few "geeks" had Asperger's syndrome, and it is undeniable that the popularilty of the term "geek" is on the rise, especially since the age of PC's and the Internet. I wonder what is the proportion of geeks and people with Asperger's syndrome on this forum.

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    Interesting.
    I wonder what could be causing the rise of the 'math-and-tech gene'?

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    There may be cases of individuals who suffer from severe autism, yet have IQs way above average. So far, I've only heard of two such people: Kim Peek (The Rain Man) & Christopher (a fictional character in 'The Curious Incident of The Dog In Night-Time').

    hikaru totomoni (光とともに)is one good manga on autism. However, it is only avaliable in Japanese AFAIK.

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    Just thought I'd post now...this is an interesting subject. Now I do recall having read an article in NewScientist not too long ago on this matter, and it was suggesting that a change in how it was measured or defined had changed because the mentally retarded stats, dropped....I'll see if I can find that...

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    I saw a documentary about that a certain kind of vaccination given to small children causes autism... It isn't proven to be true that it directly causes autism, but some people firmly believe this is the case (I forget what vaccination it is, but it's somekind of a tripple vaccination?). The epidomology doctor in the documentary said that it's too big of a risk to stop giving the vaccination since, espescially in poor countries, it's very difficult to make sure that the mothers bring their children to be vaccinated several times ( instead of using the allegedly autism causing vaccination).
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    Yes, the vaccination being spoken of is the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). According to NewScientist (13 Aug. '05, pp36~40) it had been first pointed to by one Andrew Wakefield, formerly of the Royal Free Hospital in London. He had claimed that the shot could damage a child's gut--which is one of the suspected (yet not borne out by larger placebo-controlled trials) causes leading to autism. A number of recent studies, especially one carried out in Japan (see Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol 46, p 572) have shown that there is no link between MMR and any rise in diagnosed cases.

    Another suspect in the US is the mercury (containing preservative thimerosal) used in a range of childhood vaccines. It is reported that usage of mercury is being phased out. It had been claimed that there had been direct damage to the brain by such mercury tainted vaccines, although a review in 2004 by the US Institutes of Medicine rejected a causal link between autism and either mercury or the MMR jab.

    The title of the article is The autism myth, by Graham Lawton. I will post more on that argument in a short while (not in hours, of course, but as in days)

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    I don't think we could ever talk about autism epidemics, it's not like the autism is contagious. I am sure we don't know all the causes of autism yet but I am pretty sure it's not "contagious".

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    Quote Originally Posted by donny View Post
    I don't think we could ever talk about autism epidemics, it's not like the autism is contagious. I am sure we don't know all the causes of autism yet but I am pretty sure it's not "contagious".
    Autism is increasing dramatically and the causes are not very clear yet.

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    I thought Dr Cannell had an interesting theory about a deficiency of vitamin D3 playing a part in autism.

    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/newsl...n-autism.shtml

    New Harvard Paper on AutismFive Harvard researchers accept the Vitamin D theory of autismLast month, Dr. Dennis Kinney and four of his colleagues at Harvard University accepted the Vitamin D theory of autism and then expanded it by adding five usual suspects. While I was thrilled to see the Vitamin D theory accepted, appreciate them crediting the theory to me, and loved seeing their paper in the same journal that published the original theory, Medical Hypotheses, their five additions are all toxins, the usual suspects. The authors imply these toxins are delivered to our genome by air or water pollution, such as mercury-contaminated seafood, where these toxins selectively damage the genome of those silly enough to be Vitamin D deficient.My problem with the paper is the same problem I have with any of the air and water pollution autism theories, why now? Certainly, if a toxin was causing autism, evidence exists that exposure to that toxin has increased part and parcel with the epidemic of autism.MERCURY IN VACCINESFor a while, that was one of the strongest arguments for the mercury in vaccines theory; administration of more and more mercury-containing vaccines paralleled the increase in autism. The problem with the vaccine theory is that when they took the mercury out of vaccines, the incidence of autism went up, not down.WATER AND AIR POLLUTIONWhat about air and water pollution? Any self-respecting environmentalist will tell you pollution in the USA is at record levels today; that is, American air and water has never been dirtier. However, I am older than sixty, so that nonsense won't work on me. I remember acid lakes, burning eyes, and blazing rivers.As a child, I remember thinking God wanted me to see the air I breathed. That is, I remember the USA before the clean air and clean water acts of the 1960s. If air and water pollution caused the autism epidemic, then that epidemic began in the late 1940s, climbed dramatically in the 1950s, peaked in the 1960s and then decreased in the late 1970s. Just did not happen.One could accurately say that cleaner American air and water is associated with increasing rates of autism, but with a significant lag time. Or, perhaps air pollution from Eastern Europe, India and China, which has been increasing in the last 20 years, has engendered the current crop of autism, the "foreigners did it" theory of autism. However, why would foreign coal-burning air pollution of today do what good old American coal-burning air pollution of the 50s and 60s could not?MERCURY IN SEAFOODTake mercury in seafood, terrible right? As mercury is one of the autism-causing toxins he listed, I assume Dr. Kinney predicts mercury-containing seafood consumption during pregnancy would increase risk of autism. However, I predict the opposite, that is, consumption of mercury-containing seafood during pregnancy would improve the offspring's mentation (mental activity), the benefits of Vitamin D in fish overwhelming any detriments of mercury.Consistent with that prediction, the three largest studies found higher maternal consumption of mercury-containing fish was associated with better, not worse, infant cognition with the greatest benefit for infants whose mothers consumed the most mercury-containing fish. Do not misunderstand me; these studies show mercury is bad, Vitamin D-rich fish and mercury is better, and Vitamin D-rich fish without mercury is the best. If you think the beneficial effect was from omega-3 fats, you'd be wrong. In another Harvard study, the benefits for the child of mother's fish consumption again overwhelmed the harm from mercury. Omega-3 fats consumption could not explain the beneficial effects of mercury-containing seafood, that is, neither total maternal intake of omega-3, nor omega-3 content of mother's red blood cells, was associated with the child's cognition. In yet a third study, NIH researchers found benefits for mothers who ate mercury-containing seafood during pregnancy. Benefits of fish consumption again overwhelmed the harm of toxins in fish. More importantly, low maternal seafood consumption (and thus low seafood mercury consumption) resulted in children with lower verbal IQs and suboptimal outcomes for pro-social behaviors, fine motor, communication, and social development窶杯hat is, autistic symptoms. So I heartily recommend seafood to expectant mothers and give my highest endorsement to vitamin D-rich, mercury-poor fish like small salmon. (By the way, the omega-3 literature is hopelessly confounded by Vitamin D.) However, the essence of Dr. Kinney and colleagues' addition to the Vitamin D theory of autism is that at least some of the autism-generating toxic genetic damage is done to the father's sperm, not the mother's egg.VITAMIN D-DEFICIENT FATHERSThat is, toxin ingestion by Vitamin D deficient men causes oxidative damage leading to genetic mutations in sperm. The authors' suggestion is to give Vitamin D to men, before they go around impregnating, to prevent genetic damage by toxins and thus prevent autism. While I certainly agree men should take Vitamin D before they impregnate anyone (and I suspect they will be more successful in their mission if they do), I doubt healthy men will take Vitamin D any time soon.Even if the new Food and Nutrition Board recommends 5,000 IU/day for healthy adults窶蚤nd they won't窶派ealthy men will ignore any new FNB recommendation because most men will not take supplements, unless they think it prevents hair loss, increases sexual abilities, or improves athletic performance (Vitamin D has no effect on the first two but certainly improves athletic performance).However, unlike men, pregnant women will take a supplement, and almost always do so, a prenatal vitamin. Currently, that prenatal contains a meaningless 10 micrograms of Vitamin D (400 IU). Say it contained a physiological dose, around 125 micrograms (5,000 IU). If it did, I predict the incidence of congenital autism (obvious in the first few months of life) would dramatically reduce almost immediately and the overall incidence would begin decreasing in several years. However, it would not affect the autism caused by the severe childhood Vitamin D deficiency that occurs when toddlers are weaned from Vitamin D rich formula to my favorite toxin, natural organic fruit juice.EVIDENCE STRENGTHENS VITAMIN D THEORY OF AUTISMAll in all, I liked Dr. Kinney and colleagues' paper; I hope Dr. Kinney can wake someone up at Autism Speaks, which funds Dr. Kinney. (If Autism Speaks doesn't hurry and help fund the Vitamin D Council, they won't be able to get any credit at all for helping discover the cause of autism.) The authors also listed evidence that strengthens the Vitamin D theory of autism, evidence I discussed in the original paper.That evidence is: 1) autism is more common in cloudy and rainy areas; 2) dark-skinned immigrants have much higher rates of autism; 3) there are more cases in the northern US than in the South, and 4) autism is more common in urban than rural areas, just like rickets. The authors forgot to add a fifth fact, the NIH found widespread bony abnormalities in autistic kids, abnormalities that look like the effects of chronic low-grade rickets to me.Also, if Dr. Kinney and colleagues are correct in their revision of my theory, then Vitamin D should not have a treatment effect in children with autism, unless Vitamin D can repair genetic defects. I predict the opposite: Vitamin D will be found to have a treatment effect in autism, as Vitamin D acts quickly to prevent further oxidative brain damage and increases brain glutathione, which promptly dispatches the usual suspects.John Jacob Cannell MD
    Executive Directo

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    It would likely be much better to paragraph the above post, for the purpose of reader-friendliness. I'm not yet convinced of such a narrow view on this Autism Spectrum matter. It looks, from a quick, unchecked read of the above, that a bit of other research has been left on the sidelines.

    I do know of one case (which led to a campaign by the mother, which, in turn, seems to have created a foundation {will check it out later, if time permits}) where a child with a clearly diagnosed state of mildly low functioning autism was 'cured' due to diet alone. It appears that such is the case, in cases, but it is not a fast and hard rule-of-thumb. In California, recent studies have shown that geographical location can come into play, and mother and father educational level can, based on evidence interpretation, may have some correlation--higher educated parents creating kids with a higher risk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Man View Post
    It would likely be much better to paragraph the above post, for the purpose of reader-friendliness. I'm not yet convinced of such a narrow view on this Autism Spectrum matter. It looks, from a quick, unchecked read of the above, that a bit of other research has been left on the sidelines.
    I do know of one case (which led to a campaign by the mother, which, in turn, seems to have created a foundation {will check it out later, if time permits}) where a child with a clearly diagnosed state of mildly low functioning autism was 'cured' due to diet alone. It appears that such is the case, in cases, but it is not a fast and hard rule-of-thumb. In California, recent studies have shown that geographical location can come into play, and mother and father educational level can, based on evidence interpretation, may have some correlation--higher educated parents creating kids with a higher risk.
    You are right, my post did not come out easy to read. For better viewing and greater information Dr Cannell's web sight is at:

    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health/autism/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I read an article called The Geek Syndrome, which suggested that children of "geeks" are more likely to be (mildly or strongly) autistic. It's also important to differentiate autism with Asperger's syndrome.



    I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few "geeks" had Asperger's syndrome, and it is undeniable that the popularilty of the term "geek" is on the rise, especially since the age of PC's and the Internet. I wonder what is the proportion of geeks and people with Asperger's syndrome on this forum.
    I have noticed that a number of "geeks" that I work with definitely have symptoms of Asperger's. Most of these geeks are chemical, electrical and computer engineers and three different sets of engineering couples (both the husband and wife are engineers) that I know have had children that suffer from full blown autism. One couple has 3 autistic children 2 of them are girls which is fairly unusual from what I have read.
    I think the up surge in autism is from our recently found equality in education and work opportunities. 40 years ago, at least in the United States, very few women sought higher education in highly technical fields. Teaching, nursing and social work were about the only fields open to them. Over the last generation that has changed, technical schools are flooded with women, seeking jobs in technical fields. When they enter those fields they meet men who are also highly technically oriented. They marry and the children inherit the geek gene from both parents.
    Up until this current generation women and men with the gene either did not marry or married people that they met at places other than work or university.
    So for you young men and women who are mathematically and technically astute, seek mates from men and women who are artistic and literary in nature.

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    I know the news and medical community vehemently deny it, but I believe bad vaccines contribute to the rise of autism.

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    The epidomology physician in the documented said that it's too big of a danger to quit providing the vaccination since, espescially in inadequate nations, it's very challenging to create sure that the moms carry their kids to be vaccinated several periods.


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    Last edited by Algernon; 13-10-12 at 16:11.

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    There is mention of older fathers having more mutations in their dna being passed on to their kids resulting in autism. The older one gets the person would have experienced more and experimented with chemicals so the dna would definitely be affected and that goes for the females.

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    Wow, a lot of people with my condition of Autism. Mind if I bring my Special Olympics Ambassadorial work over here? :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aristander View Post
    I have noticed that a number of "geeks" that I work with definitely have symptoms of Asperger's. Most of these geeks are chemical, electrical and computer engineers and three different sets of engineering couples (both the husband and wife are engineers) that I know have had children that suffer from full blown autism. One couple has 3 autistic children 2 of them are girls which is fairly unusual from what I have read.
    I think the up surge in autism is from our recently found equality in education and work opportunities. 40 years ago, at least in the United States, very few women sought higher education in highly technical fields. Teaching, nursing and social work were about the only fields open to them. Over the last generation that has changed, technical schools are flooded with women, seeking jobs in technical fields. When they enter those fields they meet men who are also highly technically oriented. They marry and the children inherit the geek gene from both parents.
    Up until this current generation women and men with the gene either did not marry or married people that they met at places other than work or university.
    So for you young men and women who are mathematically and technically astute, seek mates from men and women who are artistic and literary in nature.
    I agree, except with art and literature being non-autistic, because many of these can be performed in solitude, thus often representing a refuge for autistic personalities. For instance Michelangelo is often mentioned as a famous suspected AS person. Einstein was also likely autistic and he still was a talented violinist. Non-autistic individuals are most likely to be found in jobs which require team-work, official representation, masquerade, flexibility, socialization and volatile environments, for instance sales, marketing, management, fashion and politics.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    A notable and reasonable reason for the apparent increase in autism today, is the quality of diagnostics and awareness today compared to yesteryears.
    Another reason proposed for the increase in autism rates is epigenetic influences on the embryo, a very interesting research project I was involved in.
    Latest rates sit at 1 in 50 to 1 in 88 individuals diagnosed with ASD.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Yes, parental age plays a role, in that paternal and maternal mutations contribute toward autism.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Yes, given that individuals with autism have highly focused interests, have higher systemizing skills and lower empathizing skills, and social impairments, professions that lend themselves to such criteria, will prove more suited to those with autism

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    The MMR vaccine controversy has been investigated, clearing the vaccine of any etiological role in autism, and the Wakefield study implicating the vaccine has been closely examined and the analyses declared fraudulent.

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