October 2, 2010
UPDATE: Another study, released in March 2013, has determined that vaccines DO NOT cause autism.
So please consult your pediatrician for your concerns, and as long as your child is not one of the very, very small minority who will be injured by vaccines, get your child vaccinated!!!!
It seems pretty well documented, and I think offers some legitimate concerns as well as the obvious need for more research, research, research. (It was published in April 2009, and the rates for autism have now increased to 1 in 100 in the United States.)
Hopefully one day we will have some definitive answers. In the meantime, can’t we vaccinate 99% of our population to provide herd immunity to babies and the elderly, while also protecting the small percentage (1%, maybe) of children who are prone to vaccine injury because of susceptibility to auto-immune disorders, as well as neurological problems? Why can’t we protect everybody?
Of course it raises many questions (why such a huge variance in the number of Autism rates country by country?) I’d like to know what Norway and Denmark are doing right. And why oh why does America’s rates spike so much higher than any other country? We’re supposed to be the best country in the world! I just don’t get it.
|Country||# of Vaccines (under 5 yrs old)||Autism Rate||Mortality Rates Per 1,000 children under 5 yrs old||Mortality Rates Worldwide Ranking (#1 being the fewest deaths)|
|United States||36||1 in 150||7.8||34|
|Iceland||11||1 in 1,100||3.9||1|
|Sweden||11||1 in 862||4.0||2|
|Japan||11||1 in 475||4.2||4|
|Norway||13||1 in 2,000||4.4||5|
|Finland||12||1 in 719||4.7||6|
|France||17||1 in 613||5.2||11|
|Israel||11||1 in 1,000||5.7||17|
|Denmark||12||1 in 2,200||5.8||18|
January 16, 2010
The CDC released its latest autism figures just a few weeks ago (December 18, 2009). Their current findings indicate that Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism, Asperger’s and PDD-NOS) now affect 1% of children in the US, or 1 child out of every 100. This shows an increase of 60% from 2002 – 2006.
David Kirby of the Huffington Post, conducted a phone interview with Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of NIMH and Chair of the IACC (Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee) to interpret the CDC’s findings.
The highlights of his interview are:
1. Better diagnoses do not explain this huge increase.
2. The causes are both genetic and environmental. “There is no question that there is an environmental component here.” – Dr. Insel.
3. Finding environmental exposures that trigger autism are essential in order to decrease the epidemic.
Let’s hope those in positions of power and science and medicine can figure the solution out. Soon.
May 29, 2008
I’m sitting in the children’s section at Barnes & Noble leafing through a newly published, oversized book called Autism Heroes. Superboy is so cute and playing with the Thomas the Train set. Hamhock is at home in an ABA session with Anya. The book profiles stories and has great photography on various families throughout the country who face the challenge of autism in their lives.
I flip open to the first family’s story and I see Gary Cole looking right at me. You remember Gary Cole – the office manager in Office Space, Mike Brady in the Brady Bunch movies? His daughter has autism. I keep reading and finally flip to the back of the book where I see John Schneider. His picture is a great snapshot – he’s sitting down with his pre-teen daughter on his knee, his wife is standing next to their son who has Asperger’s, and the smile on John’s face is so happy, so natural. Anytime I see John it reminds me of those lazy summer days in the 80’s watching Dukes of Hazard, and I choke up with regularity watching early seasons of Smallville when scenes show John and Martha raising Clark as their son through adoption (albeit alien adoption from Krypton).
Both actors are very open about their children living with autism; they both work with non-profit organizations: Gary works with the Help Group, and John is on the advisory board for Actors for Autism.
It’s crazy to me that when you see a celebrity in a personal situation that you kind of feel like you know them. But you’ve never met them, and the people they portray are just characters, oftentimes absolutely nothing like their true selves. That said, there is some sense of familiarity when you see their face.
Last night I went to my niece’s ballet recital at the U (so freaking adorable; and she did great!), and as I was weaving around the parking lot looking for a space, my eyes were drawn to all the families going to some game at the stadium. Of course, the lack of sleep and constant emotional state I’m in, made me start crying whenever I spotted a family with kids about Hamhock’s age. I can’t imagine just taking him to a game, holding his hand while we all walk there together, anticipating a fun event. No. Everything we do has to be planned in advance, we can’t take him to most normal places you would take a 4 1/2 year old to.
I have to keep believing that someday, someway, somehow we’ll get there.
May 14, 2008
Hamhock: “Mom I’m mad at ya.” (He’s recently been using the casual form of “you.” It’s so cute.)
Me: “Why are you mad at me?’
Hamhock: “‘Cause you did something.”
Me: “What did I do?”
Hamhock: “I don’t know.”
A few minutes later he said he wanted to pump some gas in the car. So I inferred this was the reason he was mad, because earlier when we drove by the gas station and he asked, I said we had enough gas in the car and didn’t need any more.
Backstory from today: While driving through Sugarhouse to the post office, Superboy was pointing out all of our local stomping ground attractions: the food store (Wild Oats), the li-barry (Sprague branch), the train store (Barnes & Noble), the bank (Wells Fargo), the post office (USPS), and a gas station (not the one I go to, so I don’t even remember the brand).
When Hamhock saw the gas station, that reminded him that he wanted to pump some gas. He probably was especially sensitive because we went to Pep Boys yesterday to buy a brake light and some antifreeze, and I wouldn’t let him help me pour the antifreeze b/c I wasn’t sure how much and I needed to figure out the whole 50/50 thing.
So when we got home I let him go ahead and help pour some antifreeze in. I think he was happy after that.
I am particularly impressed with the above conversation, because he actually answered a “Wh-” question. Usually he doesn’t answer. This was one of the first times I’ve heard an answer. I loved how he also said “’cause” instead of “because.” That, combined with the “ya” makes me feel like he is getting some texture to his conversation – it’s not just rote, robotic language. That’s a great thing in the world of autism!
Later on, after Anya was done with his ABA session, he wanted to bike home with her. In complete earnestness, he said to me: “I’ll come back for ya” and gave me a big good-bye kiss with lots of smack on my lips. Har! Usually he doesn’t move his lips much when you give him a kiss, so it was particularly sweet how intense he was about biking home with Anya.
May 1, 2008
I’m a Texas girl.
I am! I was born in Ft. Worth in 1970, when my dad was working as an engineer before he started his PhD program in History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University nine months later.
I actually haven’t been back since.
But I married a Texas boy.
Foo was born in Kileen when his dad was serving at the base there. He lived there for only a year also.
He actually hasn’t been back since, either.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Texas (we just haven’t traveled much – hrmpf) . . .except for the study that discovered an increase in autism rates for mercury released from industrial sites. . . oops. . .
Mercury pollution linked to autism risk
Thu, Apr 24, 2008 (HealthDay) — The first study to show a statistical relationship between autism and proximity to industrial sites that release mercury has been published by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Their analysis of data from 1,040 Texas school districts and data from 39 coal-fired power plants and 56 industrial facilities in the state showed that autism rates decreased by one percent to two percent for each 10 miles of distance from a mercury pollution source.
Among the other findings:
• For every 1,000 pounds of mercury released by all industrial sources in Texas in 1998, there was a corresponding 2.6 percent increase in autism rates in Texas school districts in 2002.
• For every 1,000 pounds of mercury released by Texas power plants in 1998, there was a corresponding 3.7 percent increase in autism rates in Texas school districts in 2002.
“This study was not designed to understand which individuals in the population are at risk due to mercury exposure. However, it does suggest generally that there is greater autism risk closer to the polluting source,” lead author Raymond Palmer, associate professor of family and community medicine, said in a prepared statement.
The research appears in the journal Health & Place.