@andyjaggy – “As public awareness goes up, so will the number of
diagnosed cases.”I’m troubled by your comments for two
reasons.First, the quote above in no way explains the rise from 1 in
10,000 children (the rate only a few decades ago) to now about 1 in 100.
That’s a 100 fold increase!Maybe better diagnostics would
account for twice the rate or perhaps even five times the rate (although even
that seems a stretch), but one hundred times the rate? No, there’s
something else going on here.And your previous comments seem to
imply that, well, it’s just too complex… we’ll never
know… let’s move on.It may be complex but if we treated
this like the national emergency it is and dedicated dollars to public research
focused on cause and prevention, I bet we could figure it out.
We always want a clean and clear cut answer, there probably isn't one.
Autism is caused by elevated serotonin levels..., that would sure be convenient
if it were true, but I doubt it's that simple. Most likely it's the
combination of a host of factors, both genetic and environmental. As always
remember that it's the officially diagnosed number that have gone up, that
doesn't mean that we didn't have just as many autistic people 10-20
years ago that simple were never diagnosed and never understood. As public
awareness goes up, so will the number of diagnosed cases.
Ann Blake Tracy: A 2013 Danish study (Anders Hviid et al) found that taking
SSRIs during pregnancy does NOT increase the risk that a child will develop
autism. The study did find, as you say, that children have a higher than usual
risk when their mothers took the drugs for depression or anxiety before becoming
pregnant. But the researchers concluded that a mother’s underlying
mental-health condition is the factor behind higher autism risk. This is in line
with the largest-ever genetic study of neurodevelopmental disorders and
psychiatric illnesses (“Identification of risk loci with shared effects on
five major psychiatric disorders: a genome-wide analysis”). It shows that
many of the genes that predispose to depression, bipolar disorder, attention
deficit and hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia also predispose to autism.
Dr. Paul Wang, senior vice president for medical research for Autism
Speaks, said “These new results about SSRIs are reassuring. The decision
to use any medication during pregnancy should be discussed by the mother and her
physician. But depression can pose serious risks if it’s untreated. So
it’s important to have safe treatment options.”
Being a grandparent of two autistic teenagers 18 and 17 I would really like to
see more research done on this problem. I believe it is part genetic and a
large part from the food we eat. There's going to come a day when many of
our illnesses are going to be related to the food. You can't put poisons
and chemicals into food and expect the people who consume them to stay healthy.
One of the large reasons that as a family we now have a garden.
A few short decades ago the United States didn't have this problem. What
food additives are we allowing new that we didn't then?
This is a real epidemic and we are not sure what causes it. If I had to guess, I
would guess the food. How does Canada compare to us? How about Europe? What food
additives do we allow that they don't. If the FDA isn't regulating
food properly, Utah perhaps ought to within its borders.
If there was ever a poster child condition for why we need public research, this
is it!There is no money (why private enterprise isn’t studying
it) in finding the cause(s) and if preventable getting that information out to
the public. The only money is in treating symptoms.
I did not see mentioned that there has been a 30% increase in Autism nationwide
just in the past two years. Autism has long been known to be a condition of
elevated serotonin and the exact method of action of an antidepressant is to
increase serotonin levels. Many things cause a serotonin increase: sugar, dairy,
jello - all Utah favorites, but also antidepressant medications.With
such high rates of Autism in Utah where we also have one of the highest rates of
child bearing women taking antidepressants there was no mention at all of the
connection for which lawsuits are already being filed. Resent research shows
that a woman who is taking antidepressants during her pregnancy has a four times
greater chance of having a child who suffers Autism as a birth defect due to
exposure to the drugs in the womb. But they also have found that if the mother
has taken an antidepressant within 12 months of getting pregnant that child has
double the chance of being born autistic. Those are incredibly high
numbers that should not be ignored when so many young women are being given
antidepressants and are not warned of this possible birth defect.
Autism has become a debilitating plague on so many families - 1 in 42 male
births is autistic to some degree (even higher in Utah). Failing to pin down a
cause is the greatest failing of modern public health and medical science. This
is intolerable. In our zeal to slash public budgets, research into this matter
must not be sacrificed!