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Thread: Is autism really getting more common and what are its causes ?

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    Post Is autism really getting more common and what are its causes ?

    Figures for those suffering autism are not always easy to get right and often the figures move. For example it is estimated that around half a million people
    in the U.K. suffer autism but new studies being carried out within Britain itself and Korea say the autism prevalence has always been higher than the estimate given in past years.
    Just as the cause for autism is still not proven within a doubt. Whilst some say it may be caused German Measles, Tuberous Sclerosis, Fragile X syndrome, vaccines and even Phenylketonuria (PKU)
    However studies being done at Cambridge University do say the results show a link to testosterone but it is not yet proven and there may be a third variable. (however it was several months ago I read this, so this may have changed).
    I am not aware of present scientists that have been proven to have autism but I know it has been said such as Einstein, Mozart and Michelangelo may have had the syndrome. At the moment many of those working on the condition do have children with it.
    As for all with autism have low IQ, this is not quite true. As already noted autism is a wide sphere. many with high functioning autism go to university, have degrees and I believe find work in areas of computing, research and labs ( but I don`t have figures.)
    Yes, people with autism may be gay, it was thought different but as the views on being gay have changed it has simply let those with autism who are gay "come out", just as
    it has across the board in general.
    Last edited by hope; 15-07-12 at 03:10.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    This major nationwide study reports that, across ethnic groups in the USA, autism is most prevalent among non-Hispanic whites (12 per 1,000), and least prevalent among Hispanics (7.9 per 1,000). The same study gives data for some states. The highest prevalence given is for Utah (21.2 per 1,000) and the lowest for Alabama (4.8 per 1,000).
    The prevalence of autistic kids in whites can be explain with age of parents. Caucasians in USA and Europe tend to have children much later in life these days. Same goes for other groups or nations higher on economical ladder. Having kids later in life increases chance of autism in kids.
    Also it is worth noting that ADS increases recently faster in Hispanics and Blacks.
    The combined estimates indicated a 70% increase among non-Hispanic white children (7.0–11.9 per 1,000), a 91% increase among non-Hispanic black children (5.5–10.5 per 1,000), and a 110% increase among Hispanic children (3.7–7.7 per 1,000) during 2002–2008.
    Other increases with time might be related to changes in diagnoses and definition of ASD.
    What has caused such a significant increase in the prevalence of autism and are there really that many
    more individuals with autism today than there was 30-40 years ago? In a systematic review on
    prevalence studies of autism spectrum disorder determined many factors that explain the variability
    between the studies. Between the 1960’s to the early to mid 80’s, autism was determined using the
    Kanner or Rutter descriptions of autism (Fombonne, 2003, Williams et al, 2006). These descriptions
    were much more conservative and narrower in focus, often only focusing on typical autism, and
    excluded any child who had an intellectual impairment.
    http://www.caot.ca/pdfs/autism%20brief%20nov%2006.pdf
    There might not be an epidemic, just broader definition and age of parents.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    I find those studies which purport to find that autism was "always more prevalent" to be ludicrously hard to believe. Autistic individuals are not hard to spot except in the most mildest of cases. If this is merely a definitional thing, instead of what seems to be the actual rise in autism cases, then it is equivalent to this statement:

    Coloonikzx always existed - we just used to call them certain bugs, birds, plants, and mammals!

    The cause for the actual rise in autism cases -must- be found by medical scientists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post
    I find those studies which purport to find that autism was "always more prevalent" to be ludicrously hard to believe. Autistic individuals are not hard to spot except in the most mildest of cases. If this is merely a definitional thing, instead of what seems to be the actual rise in autism cases, then it is equivalent to this statement:

    Coloonikzx always existed - we just used to call them certain bugs, birds, plants, and mammals!

    The cause for the actual rise in autism cases -must- be found by medical scientists.

    On the contrary many cases are indeed or were to be specific "hard" to diagnose and the sufferers were labelled as shy, slow, unsociable etc. As the study of ASD
    grew the many other effects of it became apparent. See Wing and Gould, "Triad" of impairments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    On the contrary many cases are indeed or were to be specific "hard" to diagnose and the sufferers were labelled as shy, slow, unsociable etc. As the study of ASD
    grew the many other effects of it became apparent. See Wing and Gold, "Triad" of impairments.
    One must wonder how legitimate the definition of "autism" is if we give a medical designation to every form of "non-normal" (an amorphous concept to begin with!) behaviour in human beings which previously sufficed to be labelled as only mildly deviant ("shy", "slow", and "unsociable").

    We see this elsewhere in psychiatry with the medicalization of "anxiety" or "occasional sadness".

    If we're talking about the severe cases of these, then sure these are medical problems. But when you begin to suggest that autism was "vastly underdiagnosed" one is essentially suggesting that EVERY odd behaviour should be viewed as pathological symptoms of a psychiatric illness/condition.

    A good question to ask in psychiatric matters is this: Does the medicalization of this problem result in significant improvement of a major life problem for this individual? If so, then treat it as an illness. If not, then treat it as a quirk. We need not "normalize" every individual, nor must we engage in "victimization", or making histrionic mothers feel okay with their mildly odd children.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post
    One must wonder how legitimate the definition of "autism" is if we give a medical designation to every form of "non-normal" (an amorphous concept to begin with!) behaviour in human beings which previously sufficed to be labelled as only mildly deviant ("shy", "slow", and "unsociable").

    We see this elsewhere in psychiatry with the medicalization of "anxiety" or "occasional sadness".

    If we're talking about the severe cases of these, then sure these are medical problems. But when you begin to suggest that autism was "vastly underdiagnosed" one is essentially suggesting that EVERY odd behaviour should be viewed as pathological symptoms of a psychiatric illness/condition.

    A good question to ask in psychiatric matters is this: Does the medicalization of this problem result in significant improvement of a major life problem for this individual? If so, then treat it as an illness. If not, then treat it as a quirk. We need not "normalize" every individual, nor must we engage in "victimization", or making histrionic mothers feel okay with their mildly odd children.
    The "anxiety" and bouts of "occasional sadness" would be a different mental health issue. I would suggest you spend even a little time researching autism
    to give you a better idea and understanding of it. You may even do this on line. It might improve your ideas on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    The "anxiety" and bouts of "occasional sadness" would be a different mental health issue. I would suggest you spend even a little time researching autism
    to give you a better idea and understanding of it. You may even do this on line. It might improve your ideas on it.
    I have done a goodly amount of reading on the subject of autism. I have no problems with legitimate cases, and sympathize greatly with those who have it, and those who care for them. But the most mild forms, Hope, is what I am referencing.

    If we are beginning to include small aspects of personality that do not harm the individual especially, and who can live a mostly normal life, then we are diluting the concept of the disease and over medicalizing problems.

    If autism is not actually more prevalent, but it is being diagnosed more frequently, then this is likely the the reason that it is, and it represents a disturbing trend in psychiatry.

    An opposite case of this in medicine is that of cancer. Cancer used to be a rare disease which, while ancient (dinosaurs had cancerous tumors), was not at all common (though far from unknown!). Nowadays, the cancer rates have skyrocketted, and are not merely occupational (asbestos, radon) or recreationally (tobacco).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post
    I have done a goodly amount of reading on the subject of autism. I have no problems with legitimate cases, and sympathize greatly with those who have it, and those who care for them. But the most mild forms, Hope, is what I am referencing.

    If we are beginning to include small aspects of personality that do not harm the individual especially, and who can live a mostly normal life, then we are diluting the concept of the disease and over medicalizing problems.

    If autism is not actually more prevalent, but it is being diagnosed more frequently, then this is likely the the reason that it is, and it represents a disturbing trend in psychiatry.

    An opposite case of this in medicine is that of cancer. Cancer used to be a rare disease which, while ancient (dinosaurs had cancerous tumors), was not at all common (though far from unknown!). Nowadays, the cancer rates have skyrocketted, and are not merely occupational (asbestos, radon) or recreationally (tobacco).
    Yes JFWR, I appreciate what you are saying. However you firstly spoke of how prevalence has risen, to which I said that in past years children who suffered mild autism were not detected and were instead labelled as shy ..would not interact, slow..were unable to match the learning tasks of children their same age..and unsociable..they had very poor language skills and struggled to engage in conversation. Because these symptoms of what was in fact ASD went unnoticed those children did not get the help or
    guidance required. Let us remember the child with autism becomes the adult with autism and if not recognised early the future for such adults is bleak.
    Even mild autism needs expert help and thanks to the work of those in the field they are being recognised earlier and receiving the education and help better designed to allow them attain in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    Yes JFWR, I appreciate what you are saying. However you firstly spoke of how prevalence has risen, to which I said that in past years children who suffered mild autism were not detected and were instead labelled as shy ..would not interact, slow..were unable to match the learning tasks of children their same age..and unsociable..they had very poor language skills and struggled to engage in conversation. Because these symptoms of what was in fact ASD went unnoticed those children did not get the help or
    guidance required. Let us remember the child with autism becomes the adult with autism and if not recognised early the future for such adults is bleak.
    This is true, but in those cases how bad of symptoms are we talking about? If the child is just slightly struggling in school due to his quirks, this does not mean he won't be a productive human being, engaged in normal relationships, and have a useful life. Adding this as a case of "autism" and treating it as the disease can often make matters worse by creating both public alarm, and actually harming the patient by over medication, excessive treatment, misdiagnosis, treating them as a victim, et cetera, not to mention taking away time and money from serious cases.

    Even mild autism needs expert help and thanks to the work of those in the field they are being recognised earlier and receiving the education and help better designed to allow them attain in the future.

    This really depends on the protocol of treatment.

    I also think there is a legitimate spike of -real- autism cases. This raises the question: Why are there more cases of autism now? Is it related at all to auto-immune disease prevalence in the first world? Hormonal imbalances? Other enviromental problems?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post
    I also think there is a legitimate spike of -real- autism cases. This raises the question: Why are there more cases of autism now? Is it related at all to auto-immune disease prevalence in the first world? Hormonal imbalances? Other enviromental problems?
    This could be as simple as the eggs and sperm getting older. Women used to have a first kid around age of 18, now it is closer to 30, and often late thirties. Same goes to the man. These first kids recently are produced from twice older sperm and eggs. Without going deep into genetic degeneration, let's say, that the eggs are not that fresh anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    This could be as simple as the eggs and sperm getting older. Women used to have a first kid around age of 18, now it is closer to 30, and often late thirties. Same goes to the man. These first kids recently are produced from twice older sperm and eggs. Without going deep into genetic degeneration, let's say, that the eggs are not that fresh anymore.
    Older pregnancies are more often associated with retardation than autism.

    Sperm is constantly renewed so it probably isn't a paternal issue.

    I mean, this could be the case. Definitely, Western decadence in late-pregnancy is not healthy for our society and birth rates, and hell, it might not be good for autism, either.

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    recently i listened to the lecture given by Professor Padraic Fallon about inflamatory deseeses and how they are caused by our imune system going into overdrive due to absence of stomach parasites. at the moment clinical trials are taking place in european and american hospotals where they use infections with stomach parasites to cure things like arthritis, colitis...., and believe or not authism. he mentioned autism as being an inflamatory process in the brain. the western countries are "clean", have no stomach parasites and therefore have more authistic kids. i heard someone saying a few years ago that authism is a desees of afluent families. it seems that it is true....


    first article is about worms and imune system. second is the lecture link. i am not sure if it contains the mention of the authism. i think he mentioned it during q and a session after the lecture.

    Re: Bob Grant’s article about worm therapy for autoimmune disease:1 A minireview by Hanada et al., (Biol. Chem, 391:1365-70, 2010) of the RANKL/RANK system involving T-cell membrane protein ligands and ligand targets in various tissues, including specific neural and astroglial terrains in the brain, may provide additional support to the findings that inflammatory responses could play a role in autism.
    http://www.the-scientist.com/article...#ixzz20gMdndYS[/QUOTE]






    There's an interesting article on BBC News about a relatively new theory of allergies and immunological disorders. As you probably know, allergies have really increased in recent years and I'm not just talking about a sniffly nose here and there, I'm talking about potentially lethal allergies. Both allergies, asthma, type 1 diabetes, and many other diseases appear to be on the rise, and the specific causes of this are still unclear.


    One of the leading theoretical explanations is the hygiene hypothesis this states that in early childhood, exposure to infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, train our immune system to recognize what is dangerous and what can be ignored. Thus, if children grow up in an environment that is "too clean," their immune systems may not learn what the appropriate targets are, and become indiscriminate in their attacks. After all, allergies are what happens when our immune systems go a little trigger happy, and start launching assaults on harmless substances, with our own bodies being the collateral damage.


    A new refinement on the hygiene hypothesis is the old friends hypothesis. While the hygiene hypothesis is rather broad in claiming we need microbiologically diverse environments to train our immune system, the old friends hypothesis is more precise in that elderly Quakers specific micro-organisms and macro-organism parasites release substances that drive our immune systems. These organisms have become "old friends" with our immune system, each benefiting the other.


    In an early illustration of the old friends hypothesis (Jeon & Jeon, 1976), amoebae were infected with bacteria, which they unsuccessfully tried to fight off. As time passed, the amoebae evolved to peacefully coexist with the bacteria by removing certain sequences from their genetic code but the result was the amoeba were now dependent on the bacteria and could not live without them. A pathogenic relationship had become symbiotic.


    This principle of microbiological pathogens co-evolving with us to play a symbiotic role within our bodies has been demonstrated more recently in animals. Take type 1 diabetes (aka juvenile onset not the kind you get from poor diet), which is a disease of the immune system. Type 1 diabetes is rising in the UK at a rate of 4% per year a rate that far exceeds the possibility of genetic change alone. This increase is fast enough that an environmental cause is highly probable. In one study (Cooke et al, 1999), mice were predisposed to type 1 diabetes. However, when they were given an extract of the tropical worm that causes schistosomiasis, they did not develop diabetes. Mice without the worm extract developed diabetes as expected. Thus, a (dead) infectious worm appears to have prevented diabetes mellitus.


    Another study involved dogs who had developed eczema, an immunologically mediated skin disorder. All of the dogs had been raised by their owners on bottled water and human food relatively sterile stuff. When they were exposed to bacteria found in cow patties, the eczema cleared up.


    Similar processes appear to work in humans. A meta-analysis (Leonardi-Bee et al, 2006) of the relationship between parasites and asthma found that hookworm infections were associated with lower rates of asthma while Ascaris lumbricoides (round worms) were associated with much higher rates of asthma. Other parasites had no effect. Similarly, some types of pig worms appear to treat inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn's disease (Summers et al, 2005; Summers et al, 2003).


    The exact processes at play here are still uncertain, unproven, and likely to be diverse, but a few conclusions seem likely: 1) The roles of pathogen and symbiote; disease and treatment; and the whole macro-/micro-organism ecosystem are much more complex, colourful, and intertwined than we have realized. 2) It is less likely that the live infectious organism itself must be present, but rather certain substances produced by the organism. Even an extract of a parasite appears to confer beneficial properties. 3) Although it is still a long way off, it may be possible to create a kind of vaccine from extracts of parasites, avoiding the suffering they can cause, while maintaining their benefits. Your grandchild may receive a medicinal smoothie of pureed hookworm, schistosoma, and pig worm designed to prevent asthma, diabetes, and Crohn's disease, respectively.


    I'll drink to that!





    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7856095.stm


    Over the last 20 – 30 years immunologists have observed an epidemic of allergies across the world. Irish children experience one of the highest levels of these inflammatory diseases, such as excema and asthma, when compared with the global population.


    On May 17, Professor Padraic Fallon, recipient of the 2012 ISI Public Lecture Award discussed how aspects of modern life are contributing to this epidemic and highlighted how Irish scientists are leading the field on an international scale to find new therapies for such diseases.


    Professor Padraic Fallon is Director of Research for the School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin. This lecture is organised by the RDS and The Irish Times in association with the Irish Society for Immunology.






    http://www.rds.ie/cat_webcast_detail.jsp?itemID=1099693

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    Great post, Dublin. That immunological research is fascinating, and I cannot wait till it is more widely practiced around the Western world. The bane of auto-immune diseases would be far more treatable if we smartened up and lived a wee bit dirtier than we do now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post
    I find those studies which purport to find that autism was "always more prevalent" to be ludicrously hard to believe. Autistic individuals are not hard to spot except in the most mildest of cases. If this is merely a definitional thing, instead of what seems to be the actual rise in autism cases, then it is equivalent to this statement:

    Coloonikzx always existed - we just used to call them certain bugs, birds, plants, and mammals!

    The cause for the actual rise in autism cases -must- be found by medical scientists.
    One of the primary cause of autism is heritability - so genes. Autism is actually one of the most heritable of all psychiatric conditions. This alone proves that autism has always been there. It's just that most people were never diagnosed before. Even if someone's family knows or suspects that a person is autistic, unless they are officially diagnosed by a medical professional, that person will not be counted in the statistics. As going to a psychiatrist with a child is not a common thing to do in many cultures (the USA is an exception), most autistic children never get diagnosed. Furthermore, autism generally tends to improve with age, especially from puberty. Mildly and highly-functional autistic people (including those classified as Asperger's Syndrome) may not need any professional help at all to lead a normal adult life, and may not be recognised as autistic by most people.

    I believe that in cultures like Japan, that put a lot of emphasis on reading other people's feelings rather than saying what one wants clearly and directly, autistic people will stand out and be noticed more easily than in cultures where outspokenness is liked, like Germanic ones. The border between Autism Spectrum and "normalcy" is therefore a subjective one that can vary greatly depending on what is considered "normal interpersonal behaviour" in each culture.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    This could be as simple as the eggs and sperm getting older. Women used to have a first kid around age of 18, now it is closer to 30, and often late thirties. Same goes to the man. These first kids recently are produced from twice older sperm and eggs. Without going deep into genetic degeneration, let's say, that the eggs are not that fresh anymore.
    You could have something there LeBrok :
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/s...to-autism.html

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    [QUOTE=JFWR;396964]








    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post

    I also think there is a legitimate spike of -real- autism cases. This raises the question: Why are there more cases of autism now? Is it related at all to auto-immune disease prevalence in the first world? Hormonal imbalances? Other enviromental problems?
    All good questions JFWR. Maciamo has given good reasons why more cases are now noted so I wont repeat that.
    In regards to the relation of autism and auto-immune diseases, there was a study carried out in Denmark covering 12/14 years which found many children born with autism
    or related disorders also had a family history of auto-immune diseases. There were arguments against this which said it was possible the same genes were involved in auto-immune diseases and autism (this sounds plausible).
    Of course being it is linked to genetics but many say environment may "trigger" the mutated genes to act. Brings it back really to what environmental influences this could be.
    There are many theories from the plausible to the ridiculous on this, too many to list but easily found on line.

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    maciamo

    One of the primary cause of autism is heritability - so genes. Autism is actually one of the most heritable of all psychiatric conditions.
    strong immune responses are heritable particularly through epigenetic switching. however this really means nothing except that the people in the same family have multiple members with autism. there are no genes identified as autism genes.
    if you think that it is a lack of certain parasites that triggers the auto immune reaction that causes autism, then these parasites are very likely to be missing in all the members of the same family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    One of the primary cause of autism is heritability - so genes. Autism is actually one of the most heritable of all psychiatric conditions. This alone proves that autism has always been there. It's just that most people were never diagnosed before. Even if someone's family knows or suspects that a person is autistic, unless they are officially diagnosed by a medical professional, that person will not be counted in the statistics. As going to a psychiatrist with a child is not a common thing to do in many cultures (the USA is an exception), most autistic children never get diagnosed. Furthermore, autism generally tends to improve with age, especially from puberty. Mildly and highly-functional autistic people (including those classified as Asperger's Syndrome) may not need any professional help at all to lead a normal adult life, and may not be recognised as autistic by most people.
    Three things of this part:

    First, you confuse the notion of inheritance with commonness. Many disorders are highly hereditary, but just as many of those are very rare. There are a host of genetic diseases which are exceedingly rare. This does not at all imply, then, that autism was as common before as it is today. THere is a notable spike in rates which cannot be accounted for merely by underdiagnosis.

    Second, the heritability of autism, while certainly true in many cases, probably is not a single-gene problem and may be based on sponteneous gene deletion or multiplication (forms of mutations as you are aware). Knowing that genetic damage can result from enviromental factors, as well as phenotypical and epigentic changes in general from these things, it is not at all unreasonable to suggest that potent enviromental factors can account for the massive spike in rates.

    Third, a person with such limited autism that can live a normal life is hardly "autistic" in a meaningful sense. If one could reasonably go through life without anyone ever suspecting you were anything but slightly quirky, it is meaningless to speak of them suffering from anything. Moreover, as the physical criteria of mild autistic cases are virtually absent, one may even speak of an unscientific diagnosis. Of course, psychiatry is full of them in general.

    These mild cases are also not the large cause of the spikes in autism rates.

    I believe that in cultures like Japan, that put a lot of emphasis on reading other people's feelings rather than saying what one wants clearly and directly, autistic people will stand out and be noticed more easily than in cultures where outspokenness is liked, like Germanic ones. The border between Autism Spectrum and "normalcy" is therefore a subjective one that can vary greatly depending on what is considered "normal interpersonal behaviour" in each culture.
    I am unaware of Japan's rate of autism to begin wtih, but I would agree that autistic individuals (beyond the mild) would have a harder time in those societies. HOwever, Japan is also, from my understanding, is not as indirect as is sometimes supposed. There is plenty of directness in Japan, but there is a degree of politeness that involves social cues that isn't as often found in the US or Europe. In Japan, for instance, if you are doing something wrong, people will often alert you to it in a round about way to begin with. "Ah, I really don't like those throwaway sandals. They hurt my feet so much. I buy a pair of legitimate sandals. You should, too. You will liike it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by dublin View Post
    maciamo



    strong immune responses are heritable particularly through epigenetic switching. however this really means nothing except that the people in the same family have multiple members with autism. there are no genes identified as autism genes.
    if you think that it is a lack of certain parasites that triggers the auto immune reaction that causes autism, then these parasites are very likely to be missing in all the members of the same family.
    Very good point, Dublin.

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    [QUOTE=hope;396978]
    Quote Originally Posted by JFWR View Post










    All good questions JFWR. Maciamo has given good reasons why more cases are now noted so I wont repeat that.
    In regards to the relation of autism and auto-immune diseases, there was a study carried out in Denmark covering 12/14 years which found many children born with autism
    or related disorders also had a family history of auto-immune diseases. There were arguments against this which said it was possible the same genes were involved in auto-immune diseases and autism (this sounds plausible).
    Of course being it is linked to genetics but many say environment may "trigger" the mutated genes to act. Brings it back really to what environmental influences this could be.
    There are many theories from the plausible to the ridiculous on this, too many to list but easily found on line.
    I think DUblin made a good point here regarding epigentic switching from enviromental causes.

    It would be odd to say the same genes that cause autoimmune diseases, however, would cause autism in others. I would find it quite odd if autistic people were found to share the same genetic flaws as people who suffer from eczema (as an example) or any other auto-immune disease carrying genes that acn be triggered by enviromental causes. I would imagine, rather, that there would be separate genes affected in their expression from enviromental causes in those who would be more suspectible to autism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    This could be as simple as the eggs and sperm getting older. Women used to have a first kid around age of 18, now it is closer to 30, and often late thirties. Same goes to the man. These first kids recently are produced from twice older sperm and eggs. Without going deep into genetic degeneration, let's say, that the eggs are not that fresh anymore.
    This is a misconception. People are not getting married or having children later today. At least not in northern Europe. There are big cultural differences between countries, so that in parts of Africa or in India it may be or may have been common to marry and have children very young (even as young as 12). Non-Western countries are increasingly adopting Western practices though.

    However, the median age of marriage in Europe in the 16th century was already around 26 years old (27 for men and 25 for women). I clearly remember seeing a chart with the evolution of the median age of marriage in England since the 16th century, and how it lowered to 23-23 years old in the early 19th century, then went up again to 26-27 years old in the late 19th century, then down again in the mid 20th century (probably as a result of WWI and WWII), to rise again in the late 20th century. Unfortunately I cannot find it anymore (it might have been in a book I read and not on the Internet). All I could find was the median age of marriage in the USA from 1890 to 2010. This page on the social history of Europe, though, confirms my recollections. Europeans married in their mid-20's in the Middle Ages, and late 20's or later from the 16th to 18th century. There are small fluctuations over the decades and centuries, but nothing tremendous.

    Therefore I do not believe that autism is more common today because people are having children at an older age. I also do not believe that autism is more common today. The annual increase that is reported by doctors is simply the result of better screening and more parents sending their kids to the shrink when they don't fit nicely in the system (especially in the USA).

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    maciamo

    Therefore I do not believe that autism is more common today because people are having children at an older age. I also do not believe that autism is more common today. The annual increase that is reported by doctors is simply the result of better screening and more parents sending their kids to the shrink when they don't fit nicely in the system (especially in the USA).
    professor Fellon claims that it is ever increasing as are all the other auto immune diseases. by the way the relationship between the lack of parasites and extreme auto immune reactions is not a theory any more. the scientists know which exact chemicals secreted by the worms switch the immune system off. they just can't make pills from them. this is why they are now doing clinical trials with live worms. they are talking about preventative infection of children to insure development of a healthy immune system. he was also very critical of the mmr vaccines, saying that they mess up the immune system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    This is a misconception. People are not getting married or having children later today. At least not in northern Europe. There are big cultural differences between countries, so that in parts of Africa or in India it may be or may have been common to marry and have children very young (even as young as 12). Non-Western countries are increasingly adopting Western practices though.

    However, the median age of marriage in Europe in the 16th century was already around 26 years old (27 for men and 25 for women). I clearly remember seeing a chart with the evolution of the median age of marriage in England since the 16th century, and how it lowered to 23-23 years old in the early 19th century, then went up again to 26-27 years old in the late 19th century, then down again in the mid 20th century (probably as a result of WWI and WWII), to rise again in the late 20th century. Unfortunately I cannot find it anymore (it might have been in a book I read and not on the Internet). All I could find was the median age of marriage in the USA from 1890 to 2010. This page on the social history of Europe, though, confirms my recollections. Europeans married in their mid-20's in the Middle Ages, and late 20's or later from the 16th to 18th century. There are small fluctuations over the decades and centuries, but nothing tremendous.

    Therefore I do not believe that autism is more common today because people are having children at an older age. I also do not believe that autism is more common today. The annual increase that is reported by doctors is simply the result of better screening and more parents sending their kids to the shrink when they don't fit nicely in the system (especially in the USA).
    Two things:

    First, do you have numbers for the ages of men at marriage v. women? It was very frequently historically for men to be much older, which could significantly alter an average number.

    Second, in the US here are some facts about the increase in autism:

    1 percent of the population of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder.1
    Prevalence is estimated at 1 in 88 births.2
    1 to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder.3
    Fastest-growing developmental disability; 1,148% growth rate.4
    10 - 17 % annual growth.5

    From: http://www.autism-society.org/about-...tatistics.html
    Some of that is based on criteria changes, but it would be absolutely absurd to suggest that it is overdiagnosis alone that is causing -this- much of an increase. Psychiatry would have to be condemned as quackery if it can so greatly expand a disease without the prevalence actually increasing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post

    However, the median age of marriage in Europe in the 16th century was already around 26 years old (27 for men and 25 for women). I clearly remember seeing a chart with the evolution of the median age of marriage in England since the 16th century, and how it lowered to 23-23 years old in the early 19th century, then went up again to 26-27 years old in the late 19th century, then down again in the mid 20th century (probably as a result of WWI and WWII), to rise again in the late 20th century. Unfortunately I cannot find it anymore (it might have been in a book I read and not on the Internet). All I could find was the median age of marriage in the USA from 1890 to 2010. This page on the social history of Europe, though, confirms my recollections. Europeans married in their mid-20's in the Middle Ages, and late 20's or later from the 16th to 18th century. There are small fluctuations over the decades and centuries, but nothing tremendous.
    I'm pretty sure it was an English phenomenon, or maybe it just relates to upper classes. Maybe the minimum age was set by Anglican or Lutheran church, or other government regulations.
    Technically there was no reason to keep a girl home over age of 20. There was no university to attend, carrier to make or save money for an apartment. They could only become a housewives or nuns, and for this they were ready at age 15.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    This is a misconception. People are not getting married or having children later today. At least not in northern Europe. There are big cultural differences between countries, so that in parts of Africa or in India it may be or may have been common to marry and have children very young (even as young as 12). Non-Western countries are increasingly adopting Western practices though.

    However, the median age of marriage in Europe in the 16th century was already around 26 years old (27 for men and 25 for women). I clearly remember seeing a chart with the evolution of the median age of marriage in England since the 16th century, and how it lowered to 23-23 years old in the early 19th century, then went up again to 26-27 years old in the late 19th century, then down again in the mid 20th century (probably as a result of WWI and WWII), to rise again in the late 20th century. Unfortunately I cannot find it anymore (it might have been in a book I read and not on the Internet). All I could find was the median age of marriage in the USA from 1890 to 2010. This page on the social history of Europe, though, confirms my recollections. Europeans married in their mid-20's in the Middle Ages, and late 20's or later from the 16th to 18th century. There are small fluctuations over the decades and centuries, but nothing tremendous.

    Therefore I do not believe that autism is more common today because people are having children at an older age. I also do not believe that autism is more common today. The annual increase that is reported by doctors is simply the result of better screening and more parents sending their kids to the shrink when they don't fit nicely in the system (especially in the USA).
    Never mind marriage, here is a statistics on first child born to women in Canada. It is amazing how quickly, in one generation, the shift happened. This strongly coincides with fast growth of ASD cases. Surely more kids with mild ASD are included in stats these days, as I stated before, but what I found is very interesting.
    Moms keep getting olderThe change in the age distribution of mothers is particularly striking compared with one generation earlier. In 2004, women aged 24 and under made up 20.6% of all mothers, half of the proportion of 40.7% in 1979.
    The bulk of the births now occur to women aged 25 to 34, who accounted for 62.1% of all births in 2004 compared with 54.7% in 1979.
    Well, check this surprising part:
    Births to older mothers, those aged 35 and older, were almost four times as frequent as a generation earlier. These mothers accounted for 17.2% of births in 2004, nearly four times the proportion of only 4.6% a quarter century earlier.
    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quoti...60731b-eng.htm
    I'm pretty sure that this Canadian trend is also common in most western world. So, 4 times more kids are born to older mothers, therefore to older fathers too, than a generation ago. It is not a secret that age of parents goes in hand with more genetic abnormalities in kids. Lots of research and stats available online, especially with Down Syndrome.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_syndrome

    There are none so detailed statistics for ASD, but strong correlation with age of parents exists. Looking quickly at some stats, older parents age might account for 100%-200% increase of ASD cases in one generation, and the rest (other 100-200%) is probably explained with wider and more rigorous diagnostics.

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