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CDC Reports 1 In 88 Children Now Affected With Autism In the US

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the definitely-an-increase dept.

Medicine 398

An anonymous reader writes "A new government health report indicated that about one in 88 children in the United State has autism or a related disorder, the highest estimate to date, which represented an overall increase of 25 percent since the last analysis in 2006. The Centers for Disease Control reported on Thursday that the rate increased by 78 percent compared to the reported rate in 2002. From the article: '"The CDC’s new estimate of autism prevalence demands that we recognize autism as a public health emergency warranting immediate attention," Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson said in a new release. "More than ever, these numbers compel us to redouble our investment in the research that can reveal causes, validate effective treatments and guide the effective delivery of services to all our communities," she added.'"

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398 comments

Autism is bullshit (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39516891)

Just like ADHD.

Re:Autism is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39516933)

Yea I totally... something... I forget. Hey look, a dog with a fluffy tail!

Re:Autism is bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517013)

ADHD & Mild Mental Retardation & Behavioral Problems & "does not play well with others" are now all diagnosed as autism. Probably mostly due to social acceptance factors.

Re:Autism is bullshit (3, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#39517065)

Somebody needs to buy them pills, ain't it?

'Cause outside US, not too many seems to care much about patents if they can go ahead with cheaper but equally effective generics.

Re:Autism is bullshit (0, Offtopic)

fotoguzzi (230256) | about 2 years ago | (#39517339)

I'm so glad that someone has rated the parent +2. It's an absolutely brilliant statement and should one day win an award. You don't find quality posts like this on other forums.

Re:Autism is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517147)

One question, where are the amish children on the autistic spectrum? You also do realize it is impossible to have a genetic epidemic right?

Re:Autism is bullshit (3, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#39517223)

Researchers have recognized for years that autism is heavily a question of chemical pollution in the environment, just like cancer. However, it's pretty clear that there is also a genetic component to vulnerability, otherwise we'd all have it. The problem still needs to be understood in full if we want to do anything about it.

Re:Autism is bullshit (2, Insightful)

F'Nok (226987) | about 2 years ago | (#39517469)

No they have not. Research has continued to show that genetic factors overwhelm any other possibility.

It has nothing to do with pollution, and is nothing like cancer at all.

There is no epidemic, there's just increasing awareness and better diagnosis.

Autism is bullshit; No, only the AC is ... (-1, Flamebait)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#39517259)

What is bullshit is the Arrogant Cunt who would rather bury their head in the sand ignoring the problem instead of learning from it. Autistic people are _extremely_ bright -- their brain just doesn't spend much of its processing power on the "Social Customs" of society.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FlIyJJRc0E [youtube.com]

Re:Autism is bullshit; No, only the AC is ... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517421)

Autistic people are _extremely_ bright -- their brain just doesn't spend much of its processing power on the "Social Customs" of society.

No, they're little shitheads whose parents never disciplined them in their life for their misbehavior and never taught them how to consider other people's feelings.

Bright or not, autism is just another bullshit buzzword excuse in 99% of the children "diagnosed" with it. Just like ADHD in the 90's. You fucking people just keep pumping your kids full of drugs and other bullshit because you don't want to be "the bad guy" and crack the fucking whip once in a while like you're supposed to.

Grow a fucking pair and discipline your kids and most of all teach them how to be fucking considerate. Even if they don't understand why they're being considerate, that's no excuse for them not to be. Pavlov taught a fucking dog to salivate when he rang a bell. You can teach your kid not to constantly fucking interrupt people and throw hissy fits in public and be selfish little twats all the time, too. Even if they don't know why they're behaving, at least they'll fucking be behaving, right?

Re:Autism is bullshit; No, only the AC is ... (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 years ago | (#39517547)

This is too funny. So you are an example of someone who considers other's feelings?

You're ignorant.

True... (5, Funny)

alendit (1454311) | about 2 years ago | (#39516903)

And all of them are lurking on 4chan.

Re:True... (2, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#39517003)

I know you are trying to be funny, but autistic people are better people than those who lurk in 4chan.
Therefore, I find your comment offensive.

Re:True... (0)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 2 years ago | (#39517111)

There is plenty of crossover in those two groups, although not all autistics are on 4chan and not all 4channers are autistic.

Slashdot 1 in 2 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39516907)

Whereas on slashdot the ratio is the prevelance is the far more alarming 1 in 2.

Re:Slashdot 1 in 2 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39516949)

Whereas on slashdot the ratio is the prevelance is the far more alarming 1 in 2.

No, it's 1.000073629 in 2.

Re:Slashdot 1 in 2 (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#39517239)

And, I was just going to point out that the statistics were:

1:150 (nationwide) in 2002,
1:125 (nationwide) in 2004,
1:110 (nationwide) in 2006,
1:88 (in 14 states) in 2008.

This isn't really telling us what the statistics are today, but I would extrapolate an 8.713%/year increase from the presented data, leading to a figure of 1:61 in 2012. When the 2006 data was presented, everyone called out "you can't extrapolate like that, the growth is over now", but the latest data presented actually shows an increase in the trend to over 10%/year increase.

At these 10%/year rates, by 2040 over 1:2 8 year old boys will be autistic and it will be the jocks and frat boys who are whining about discrimination and bullying, and by 2050, the majority of the population will be classified autistic, and /. will finally surpass Facebook for market share.

Cue Oh You Pretty Things [lyricsfreak.com]

Re:Slashdot 1 in 2 (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39517283)

Whereas on slashdot the ratio is the prevelance is the far more alarming 1 in 2.

No, it's 1.000073629 in 2.

Divided by pi.

Is this actually due to more indecents of autism? (5, Interesting)

trunicated (1272370) | about 2 years ago | (#39516925)

Or are we changing how we mesure it? How we define "autism"? Maybe it's because autism is more acceptable, and doesn't require someone to be locked in a basement until a group of 1980s teens decide that they need to find a treasure in order to save their housing development.

All kidding aside, I'd be interested to know how much the autism scale has changed over the years. I realize that highly functioning people with autism still count as having autism, but was that always the case?

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (3, Informative)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#39516973)

The article I read about this earlier today did actually credit better/more defined diagnosis criteria as a major part of the increase in diagnoses, but that roughly 50% of the increase is still unexplained. But yeah, years ago, just as with other mental diseases/development disorders, higher functioning sufferers were generally just considered slow or slightly odd, but otherwise normal.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#39517053)

Which still warrants a different look. If we can now recognize what it is, and can do something about it that's better than just writing the situation off as a collection of unsolvable oddities that aren't worth investing much in.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517311)

You'll never get an honest answer, because it's mainly due to poor parenting. Here's the quick recipe for building your own sperg:
- helicopter parenting
- overly-structured playtime
- lack of socialization
- prerecorded video content that is watched 100s of times over
- overly-immersive video games with programmatic rewards
- lack of reading/play opportunities that aren't videos or video games
- junk food diet / lack of exercise
- exposure to cartoon pornography/4chan at a young age

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517471)

But... but... then the parents will have to actually *gasp* parent? Rubbish. There has to be a magic pill that little Bobby can take and not annoy them.

FFS, if people with proclivities to these kind of genetic disorders, and people in-general stopped pumping out babies because it'll 'complete' them, we'd all be better off.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#39517347)

I don't disagree. The rate of increase in diagnoses is much higher than what we would expect from a better understanding of the symptoms. There is definitely something else going on here that warrants further exploration. But at least we know it's NOT caused by mercury in vaccines :)

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517083)

years ago, just as with other mental diseases/development disorders, higher functioning sufferers were generally just considered slow or slightly odd, but otherwise normal.

Even your post describes them as "mental diseases/development disorders". So hey, let's try a little exercise:

Define "normal".

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517119)

"Normal" is by definition what the majority are.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (3, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#39517219)

Define "normal".

Whatever society at that time had constructed as normal. 70 years ago, if you lived in a rural area, normal would be getting up early, walking several miles to school, playing with the school kids, then walking home and helping out around the family farm. If you lived in a city, you probably helped out in your parents' shop, or watched your younger siblings while your parents worked. But the biggest factor in normality has always been, and more than likely always will, be a certain level of social interaction. This is because we are by our very nature social animals. That is why kids that are less social than normal tend to get singled out, or people get "weird" around asocial adults: it's not a conscious act, but rather a response conditioned by evolution and years of social cues.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#39517249)

Normal people know normal when they see it. But you knew that, right?

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (1)

bricko (1052210) | about 2 years ago | (#39517091)

For one thing this was NOT a "study" it was a questionnaire. And there is no increase in Autism....there is an increase in the Diagnosis of autism. They have changed the definition down. sort of dumbing down the test. So guess what...you get more positive results. This helps the usual victim group industry such as the Jenny McCarthy vaccine nonsense.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (1)

dpilot (134227) | about 2 years ago | (#39517215)

The sad thing about the whole vaccine scare is that vaccines are one of the most selfless things done in medicine today. (That's not to say that the vaccine field is entirely selfless, but your run-of-the-mill vaccines haven't the profits of Viagra.)

At the same time as people are questioning vaccines, there's very little questioning of the "chemical experiments" performed on us during the 50's and 60's, before anyone thought about such concerns. There's a pile of "better living through chemistry" that's so infrastructural we've barely begun to question it - like plastic milk jugs that may have a linkage to female precocious puberty, etc.

Back to vaccines for a moment, in the Muslim world the questioning of vaccines has turned them into a "Western plot" to the extent that many have stopped the practice. As a result, there are places where polio is making a comeback.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#39517327)

If plastic milk jugs are the cause of the increase in average breast size, I'm willing to live with the consequences.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517237)

There's also the possibility of it being both: More people genuinely have it than before, and more of those that have it are diagnosed.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517545)

Fuckin-A right. Just like how all of a sudden everyone had fucking ADHD in the 90's, now everyone has Autism. In ten years it'll be some other bullshit excuse for why their kids are antisocial little fuckwits and there will be a doctor standing right there, ready to smile and nod and write a bunch of prescriptions and set up a bunch of testing that will bill insurance companies for thousands of dollars for another great big circle jerk...

Meanwhile having an autistic kid is the new "in" thing so now all the suburban housewives are rushing their kids off to the doctor and can't ever fucking shut up about it, and if that's not enough here's a goddamn magazine and a pamphlet and a group and a mailing list and a ribbon and a wristband and a bumper sticker...

Give me a break.

Annoying choice of data classifications. (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | about 2 years ago | (#39517275)

Here is the actual study [cdc.gov] and is annoyingly light on details to help answer that question. The total number includes people diagnosed with Autistic Disorder, Aspergers, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder–Not Otherwise Specified. They have tables that slice and dice the data between gender, ethnicity, locality, IQ, and other factors, but nowhere in the paper do the say what the split between these categories is. The closest is a table that shows how many people were diagnosed before the age of 8.

If the increase is largely in Aspergers, the I would expect that it is mostly due to increased diagnosis, since it didn't didn't even have an official diagnosis standard until the early 90's and didn't enter into mainstream awareness till about a decade later.

Without this information I have no idea how to react. If we are seeing a huge increase in the number of people with low functioning Autism, that is a cause for alarm. If we are mostly seeing an increase in the number of people with Aspergers, then that's a good thing, because it means that more people with Aspergers are receiving information that can help them live their lives better, and there isn't much to be concerned about.

Probably not, for any of the above. (1)

jd (1658) | about 2 years ago | (#39517293)

The figure is now much closer to the 1 in 75 that the UK is reporting, which means that it's much more likely to be honestly reported. The less than half figure that the US previously claimed never rang true - it's genetic, not magic, so the incidence rate aught to reflect the gene pool you have to work with. The US and UK are genetically very similar, so the incidence rate aught to be very similar.

I would be far more interested in knowing why it has been dishonestly reported in the past and whether the now-caught willfully inaccurate reporting will lead to the various US medical boards asking serious questions. I doubt it. That kind of discrepancy can't be the result of a few bad eggs, and there's absolutely bugger all chance that they'd discipline the sheer number of pdocs that would have been required to create an error on that scale.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 2 years ago | (#39517297)

Was over at a friends house recently. He had on some kind of Mickey mouse adventure DVD for the baby. It was essentially demented. Mickey mouse traping around on an undefined saccharine adventure with shapeshifting companions, reaching into a sack of some kind to use tools on CG doors that lead to the next microplot with no connection to what came before or after.

It was the closest I have ever seen film come to capturing the hazy stream of consciousness of a dream. I think it was over an hour long.

If Disney and others have been mass producing DVDs like that for children for the last 15 years, I'd fully expect incidences of all kinds of mental pathology to be skyrocketing right about now.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#39517395)

Was over at a friends house recently. He had on some kind of Mickey mouse adventure DVD for the baby. It was essentially demented. Mickey mouse traping around on an undefined saccharine adventure with shapeshifting companions, reaching into a sack of some kind to use tools on CG doors that lead to the next microplot with no connection to what came before or after.

It was the closest I have ever seen film come to capturing the hazy stream of consciousness of a dream. I think it was over an hour long.

If Disney and others have been mass producing DVDs like that for children for the last 15 years, I'd fully expect incidences of all kinds of mental pathology to be skyrocketing right about now.

The entire baby-boomer generation was raised by televisions showing hours of insane cartoons. I think we need to look elsewhere for an explanation.

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#39517323)

It's a combination of more aggressive measurement, and broadening of the definition (Autism used to be a peer of Asperger's for example, but is now the container diagnosis for both).

Re:Is this actually due to more indecents of autis (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#39517375)

Or are we changing how we mesure it? How we define "autism"?

Add to the list of questions: who define "autism"?

QUACK QUACK goes the psychiatrists (0)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 2 years ago | (#39517505)

Your comment is probably spot on. I read something awhile back, where psychiatrists have a manual that describes mental disorders, and their proper diagnosis. This is important for them to be able to agree on the definition and symptoms of a particular mental disorder. Every time it is revised, the definitions of disorders are effectively being revised, so any diagnosis is shooting at a constantly moving target.

Part of the reason I think that psychiatrists are quacks, is that there is so little consensus on the problems they are treating.

More autism or more diagnosis? (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 2 years ago | (#39516947)

It would be useful to know if there's more autism by some objective measure, or just more diagnosis. I've heard it pointed out that children who are diagnosed as autistic get a very large amount more attention, private tutoring, and such, in many school systems.

Re:More autism or more diagnosis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517071)

There might be something to this because special education students get more federal funding, which encourages school districts to diagnose kids into the program. Also they're all mainstreamed into regular schools so there isn't the shortbus/sped connotation as there was in the past.

Re:More autism or more diagnosis? (1)

Sad Loser (625938) | about 2 years ago | (#39517485)

I think this is the key to it.
In the UK having your child labelled as 'autistic' or 'autism spectrum'
a) is more socially acceptable than just being labelled as 'slow' (yes I know this is wrong but this is just the way it is) whereas with autism they have a [poorly defined] disease, which is seen as 'an act of God'
b) opens the door to a lot more state benefits (=money) and extra teaching at school (schools like having more teachers), as the child is counted as being 'disabled'.


While I am glad that more kids are being picked up and are being better supported, I am sure that part of this is the creeping medicalisation of normal human variation, and (even as a doctor) this is not a good thing

100% (3, Interesting)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 2 years ago | (#39516951)

So once they all have it, it'll be normal right? Then we can stop overdiagnosing it and get back to life.

Re:100% (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#39517287)

No, there are different degrees (and causes) of autism, ranging from "barely noticeable in everyday conversation to an untrained observer" to "unable to talk until age 50 [autismconnects.com] , and even then only because of extensive therapy." If autistic characteristics were a good evolutionary fit for the majority of the human species, they would have become much more prevalent a long time ago.

Re:100% (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 2 years ago | (#39517563)

"barely noticeable in everyday conversation to an untrained observer" By that reasoning everybody is autistic, making BradleyUffner's oblique point. An "observation" that someone is autistic that requires "training" to spot when a lay person wouldn't even consider it a possibility is an example of over diagnosing. That someone may simply be deliberately insensitive because they're an asshole.

Sign of Genius? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39516957)

Childhood friend never spoke until he was five. Seemed to be in a world of his own, but I still liked him. So he graduated from one of the Ivy League (honors or something) and finished two doctorates. He's still in his own world.

Re:Sign of Genius? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517145)

Nope. Most aspies live their lives as fat man-children clinging to childhood toys and writing disturbing fan fiction that involves them violating some cartoon character or another.

Re:Sign of Genius? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517203)

Childhood friend never spoke until he was five. Seemed to be in a world of his own, but I still liked him. So he graduated from one of the Ivy League (honors or something) and finished two doctorates. He's still in his own world.

No, he had no social life so wrapped himself up in the books.

Re:Sign of Genius? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#39517407)

Childhood friend never spoke until he was five. Seemed to be in a world of his own, but I still liked him. So he graduated from one of the Ivy League (honors or something) and finished two doctorates. He's still in his own world.

Heh... I thought you were talking about a childhood imaginary friend.

Re:Sign of Genius? (2)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#39517449)

Childhood friend never spoke until he was five. Seemed to be in a world of his own, but I still liked him. So he graduated from one of the Ivy League (honors or something) and finished two doctorates. He's still in his own world.

People have been studying "genius" for quite a while. Although inconclusive, there are some interesting findings about genius. One of the interesting things is what people like to call the 10,000 practice hour rule. The presumption is: you can be smart or talented in an area, but if you don't practice, you don't get to the genius level. The other side of that coin is that if you don't have the smarts or talent, all the practice in the world won't get you there.

Maybe being in a "world of your own" helps to carve out 10,000 hours of practice time, but if you don't have the talent in that area to begin with, you probably won't get anywhere near the genius level.

So there might be some correlation between some asocial/ASD behavior and genius in getting in the required 10,000 hours of practice, but you can also have a dragon-like parental units, or group of like-minded friends/collegues/mentors, or have a hostile/driven/ambitious personality, or maybe just being born/stranded in a small town (or island) with nothing else to do help you get to 10,000 hours... Researchers of genius have seen all these components in their studies...

As to where the underlying smarts/talent comes from? Well, some might be nature and some might be nurture, but since there are many examples of ASD folks with varying levels of "intelligence", it stands to reason that there is a good chance ASD is not a sign of genius...

Who grammar checked the title? (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | about 2 years ago | (#39516959)

It's affected by autism, not affected with autism. And it's not an infection either. There.

Re:Who grammar checked the title? (2)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#39517197)

"Who grammar checked the title?"

Hi there, you must be new to Slashdot. Welcome to Slashdot!

Re:Who grammar checked the title? (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#39517349)

Technically, we can't be sure it's not an infection since the cause is unknown.

Re:Who grammar-checked the title? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#39517429)

It's affected by autism, not affected with autism. And it's not an infection either. There.

Fixed your subject line for you.

Maybe Autism isn't abnomral? (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 2 years ago | (#39516961)

If it's that normal, maybe it's not abnormal after all?

Re:Maybe Autism isn't abnomral? (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#39517055)

There's a pretty active debate over how to classify it, and how it relates to "normal" functioning, and some of the major theories do at least hint in the direction that the picture of "normality" is complex.

One model, which has a clearer division, is that there is a specific etiology, which would make "autism" a more conventional "disease" in a sense, in that some people have it and some don't, and there is a known cause.

However another major model views the "autism spectrum" as something like the tail of a normal Bell-curve distribution for some cluster of traits. In that case, the dividing line between "normal" and "not normal" becomes a more subjective one having to do with how far in the tails you decide to put a cutoff, which probably involves some judgment of ability to function in society (which in turn depends on the society).

Other models think that we're conflating several etiologies in this big basket, and that some may be discrete diseases while others are tail-of-a-Bell-curve traits.

Re:Maybe Autism isn't abnomral? (2, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#39517335)

Having children diagnosed with Autism, and fairly far out on the spectrum, I wouldn't call it a dis-ability, they're "differently-abled."

If all you care about is being able to sit in a room with 17 other kids their age, shut up and do what they're told - yeah, that's a problem, well into the disability range. Personally, I don't think that the ability to sit like a vegetable and follow basic instructions is the only thing of value that a person can offer to society.

In my family, at least, this finding goes a long way toward explaining at least some of our "abnormal" behaviors:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=mind-wandering-is-linked-to-your-wo-12-03-17 [scientificamerican.com]

It's misleading to imply these are new cases (4, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39516965)

Autism isn't a new issue. It's been around for hundreds of thousands of years. It's just it wouldn't be diagnosed before.

How many cases of appendicitis were there 10,000 years ago? Would be rational to look at existing reported cases and conclude that all of this just started in the modern era?

I'm not saying autism isn't a problem. It's just one of many old problems.

Re:It's misleading to imply these are new cases (4, Interesting)

catsidhe (454589) | about 2 years ago | (#39517025)

This is an important point to remember.

As an example: I was diagnosed with Asperger's in 2010 at the age of 37. Do I count in the statistics of 2010, or 1973?

Re:It's misleading to imply these are new cases (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39517139)

That's a good question. The right answer is of course 1973 since you were born with it. However, the statistics they're talking about might easily put that on 2010.

The issue with statistics is that you have to be somewhat educated to understand them in the first place. And as evidenced by most journalists reporting on statistics... it seems most people are pretty ignorant on the subject.

Another issue that always makes me nuts on statistics is correlation and causation... they always confuse correlation with causation... its maddening.

Re:It's misleading to imply these are new cases (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 2 years ago | (#39517149)

For this study, neither since it's kids 2-17. If it was for people 2-40, it wouldn't matter since either date would be include in the age range. If it was for people diagnosed as autistic in 2010 with Aspergers, then yes since that was when you were diagnosed. If it was for people who had an ASD in 2009, no because you had not been diagnosed even though you might have had the disorder then.

Re:It's misleading to imply these are new cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517301)

But the point is.. he was around for quite some time and wasn't part of the numbers until just recently. And he isn't likely to be unusual. Making stories about "Autism rates on the rise" suspect. Because the older numbers are artificially deflated by ... not being diagnosed.

Re:It's misleading to imply these are new cases (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#39517367)

The CDC stats are for 8 year olds - if you have comorbid dwarfisim and were attending 2nd grade in 2010, you might have fooled them well enough to get counted.

Re:It's misleading to imply these are new cases (3, Interesting)

catsidhe (454589) | about 2 years ago | (#39517591)

Which is a fair point, in this study.

All too many reports, however, don't discriminate across age clades, and just count up total Autists, if they specify at all. And they detect massive rises in Autism diagnoses since <whenever>, and you can't tell if adult diagnoses are skewing the results or not.

In this case, that they've accounted for the improvements in diagnosis rates is a positive sign... although I wonder how that "50%" number was arrived at:

However Roithmayr [president of the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks] noted that better and broader diagnosis and higher awareness accounted for only a half of the rise in autism rates, and that the most recent numbers show that there is an autism epidemic in the United States that needs to be addressed.

A lot of Autists simply don't trust Autism Speaks. Most of its money goes to advertising and research into eliminating Autism (which Autists interpret as eliminating the possibility of people like us in the future, at the expense of research into treatments for the disabling symptoms of Autism for people who exist now). There is only one Autist on any of its boards (being John Elder Robison on the Research board, where he is outnumbered fourty-nine to one), and they have produced videos where people talk about killing themselves and their Autistic child and that they only didn't because of the "normal" child at home, in front of that Autistic child. (Just because they may not be able to speak normally doesn't mean they can't understand what you're saying.) Autism Speaks tend, as far as we can see, to be advocating for the parents, not the autistic children (which isn't a problem per se, except that they misrepresent themselves as speaking for the Autists themselves, something which is overwhelmingly not true), and advocating for more resources based on a campaign of fear and loathing of the worst case scenario, and misrepresenting it as the typical case. It would be entirely in character for Autism Speaks to underplay the role of improved diagnosis and overplay the "OMFG EPIDEMIC!!1!", as this plays right into their story of Autism being this Thing which will steal your child in the night and you need to give money to Autism Speaks if you want your child back.

That's not to say it's necessarily wrong, but I do not trust that unsupported statement from that source.

Re:It's misleading to imply these are new cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517603)

How many cases of appendicitis were there 10,000 years ago? Would be rational to look at existing reported cases and conclude that all of this just started in the modern era?

Oh my god, you're right! Vaccines cause appendicitis!

I do not have autism... (2, Funny)

h4x0t (1245872) | about 2 years ago | (#39516997)

But when doing math, I do sit on the floor, rocking back and forth, whilst mumbling to myself.

Not an epidemic (1)

lavagolemking (1352431) | about 2 years ago | (#39517005)

In past years, autism was barely understood/defined, and often misdiagnosed as ADHD, mental retardation, or something similar. As awareness increases and the diagnostic criteria become more straightforward, autism is diagnosed more and more frequently. You can't call that increase in diagnosis an epidemic.

Re:Not an epidemic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517039)

Re-read the article...

Re:Not an epidemic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517373)

More straightforward? You obviously don't know what you are talking about the DSM IV was "Published" in 1994

... and 2/3 of them are overweight ... (4, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | about 2 years ago | (#39517011)

Doesn't it mostly depend on what definition is being used this month?

One of the ongoing problems with both medical and economic statistics is that the definitions of what's being measured changes on a time scale of a year or four. This confounds attempts to measure changes over time, since the statistics for constant things are often changing.

Here in the US, one of the ongoing examples is the changing definitions of "unemployment". This was made clear back during the Reagan years, when the military was changed from ignored to "employed". This lowered the unemployment rate by roughly 1% (and varied a lot by state). It also meant that unemployment rates before and after that change were incommensurable.

This is an old, and ongoing story. Both the political and marketing people like to change definitions periodically, so they can use the resulting statistical "changes" in their propaganda.

You know that the hue and cry... (4, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | about 2 years ago | (#39517017)

... will be to end all vaccinations, and not to clean up the poisons that our kids breath, the crap that's in our food, and all the other potentially genetically damaging stuff that we do.

Re:You know that the hue and cry... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 2 years ago | (#39517425)

... will be to end all vaccinations, and not to clean up the poisons that our kids breath, the crap that's in our food, and all the other potentially genetically damaging stuff that we do.

No, the vaccination thing is cooling off, but Al Gore might be making a case that it comes from increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Looking back at my highschool (early 1980s), I can clearly identify 3 cases (diagnosable by today's criteria) out of 210 graduating seniors - that's a little skewed though, we had roughly 90 dropouts, so the overall number in my class was about 1:100 (all guys), the class one year older than me had about 5.

What's changed in the last 30 years is that all those cases were "high functioning, verbal" there are a lot more with serious challenges today.

I have autism too along with assburgers! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517019)

It's my excuse for being an asshole.

"I had Asperger Syndrome. Briefly" (5, Interesting)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 2 years ago | (#39517041)

I Had Asperger Syndrome. Briefly. [nytimes.com]
By BENJAMIN NUGENT
New York Times
Published: January 31, 2012

"FOR a brief, heady period in the history of autism spectrum diagnosis, in the late ’90s, I had Asperger syndrome.

I exhibited a “qualified impairment in social interaction,” specifically “failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level” (I had few friends) and a “lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people” (I spent a lot of time by myself in my room reading novels and listening to music, and when I did hang out with other kids I often tried to speak like an E. M. Forster narrator, annoying them). I exhibited an “encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus” (I memorized poems and spent a lot of time playing the guitar and writing terrible poems and novels).

The biggest single problem with the diagnostic criteria applied to me is this: You can be highly perceptive with regard to social interaction, as a child or adolescent, and still be a spectacular social failure. This is particularly true if you’re bad at sports or nervous or weird-looking.

But my experience can’t be unique. Under the rules in place today, any nerd, any withdrawn, bookish kid, can have Asperger syndrome."

Autism is not Increasing (4, Insightful)

florescent_beige (608235) | about 2 years ago | (#39517043)

General incompetence is increasing. People who are good at math get therapy until they aren't good at anything so they can be normal.

Re:Autism is not Increasing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517247)

Triple ticks.

But the real question isn't 'what' is happening, it's why.

I'm not normal, and slowly becoming proud of it.

Autism is an evolutionary response (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517047)

While an alpha male is fucking a hot chick on a Friday night, the autistic beta male is working on a project which is due on the alpha male's desk first thing Monday morning.

Re:Autism is an evolutionary response (0)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#39517253)

What utter nonsense.

Let me fix that for you;

"While an alpha male is fucking a hot chick on a Friday night, the autistic beta male is working on a project while waiting on the alpha male's report thats due on his desk first thing Monday morning."

My suspicion (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | about 2 years ago | (#39517153)

It just seems strange to me there are so many children on heavy hitter psych meds. It can't be a total coincidence that their parent's generation started the trend toward better living through pharmacology. With their parents taking Zoloft, Seroquel, Zyprexa and Abilify like candy it just seems oddly coincidental that there are so many autistic kids running around.

Re:My suspicion (0)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#39517307)

I have to agree. Last night I watched a documentary about the disturbing amount of medication of little children in the US. Cant bring up your kid properly? Too lazy to discipline, or unable to due to the thickness of cotton wool surrounding your child? Take the quick way out and Medicate!

It was one hell of an eye opener. Heavy psych meds for kids that have not been brought up properly? WTF is wrong with you?

Re:My suspicion (5, Insightful)

FrootLoops (1817694) | about 2 years ago | (#39517437)

We evolved in a different environment with vastly different social structures. Is it so hard to believe that in today's society legitimate mental problems are rampant? Just a few thousand years ago humans were living in small tribes, hunting or gathering for food, and sleeping in caves. Today our communities are gigantic and our social interactions are largely anonymous. Mental work has replaced most physical work in developed nations. At the same time people are living far longer and having fewer or no children, changing the family dynamic. We've also learned to manipulate our emotions through music, substances, and entertainment. Social standards have changed, too. I can no longer show anger by punching you without consequences.

With all of these huge recent changes in how we interact with each other and our world and in how we think, is it at all surprising that the kinks have yet to be worked out?

Asperger's Syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517199)

Asperger's seems to be included in that report. I know a bunch of people with AS so I am not at all surprised about the fact that over 1 percent of the US has some form of autism. I don't think these numbers are abnormal. I think that they are more accurate.

the real question (-1, Troll)

slick7 (1703596) | about 2 years ago | (#39517205)

How many of these cases are due to vaccinations?
Only Big Pharma knows for sure.

Re:the real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517255)

Nice troll, dude. Not subtle or intelligent, but it's still a classic.

Re:the real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517267)

None.

Its a scam to get more funding (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#39517233)

Expand what you call it so you can capture more people, claim its an epidemic, then ask for more funding

Quest for a Cure, and other idiocy (5, Interesting)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39517257)

My son is autistic, and I can't stand it when people involve the words 'disease' or 'cure' when speaking of it. Autism Speaks goes so far as to use the word 'eradication', so I don't bother with them whatsoever. They want a cure for something, in my own opinion, isn't curable. It's the way you're made. There are no cures for Down's out there right now, are there?

And when it comes to the "OMG SO MANY AUTISTIC KIDS!" issue--I'm sure everyone here remembers the days back in grade-high school, where the special-needs kids were all dumped into one room. From Down's to ADHD, they resided in the basement where none of us "normal" kids ran the risk of running into them and giving us complexes. There were many, many children that were autistic, but they'd only get the colorful, cute euphemisms, like 'retards' or 'speds'. They were ALWAYS used with great care and kindness, of course. /sarcasm

Nowadays, more people are eager to look into each case specifically, instead of throwing a blanket over any kid that falls behind or shows some sign of disability. Therefore, we're all freaking out about how there are so many sudden cases of autism--to me, it's always been here. I myself am in the spectrum, but back when I was little, I was brought to 'retardation' tests to examine my issues (where they discovered that my IQ was actually strangely high). I consider myself an undiagnosed case until I learn otherwise. If you look around yourself, think back to all the kids you went to school with, the more you might realize that autism's always been there... we just haven't met it with the same speculation, sensitivity and care until now. Are there environmental factors? Perhaps. But I think that only delays our understanding of autism itself: we're looking for outside reasons, when it's inborn, 'just the way you are'.

My son is almost nine, doesn't use the toilet exclusively, speaks almost exclusively in echolalia (and in my exact tone and inflection, as I was his main caregiver growing up), has odd, brain-numbing routines (he'll sing the same three words of a song for an hour straight while hitting the floor over and over again in specific patterns)... but he is damned smart, scarily so. I work on meeting him halfway; he does, deep down, have great understanding, and as long as I accommodate the things he can't help, it works out. To be honest, he's one of the easiest kids I've ever had to deal with, and I was a preschool teacher for over ten years.

bad idea (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#39517281)

First of all it's not increasing any more than A.D.D. is increasing, they're just broadening the diagnosis. By their definition, I have autism. Most of us IT people do (apparently). Who knew? lol. But also, why would we call it a gigantic super panic emergency mega health meltdown-fest 2012 when there's absolutely NOTHING anyone can do about it to prevent it or treat it? That would be the most pointless course of action ever. This isn't bird flu where people can actually do something if awareness is raised.

we have to solve this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517303)

it's clear there is an environmental factor to this and we need to find out what it is asap.

this can't be our new normal just like cancer and obesity have become.

Responses (0)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 years ago | (#39517393)

Interesting reading the responses to this. There is a lot of doubt about the validity of these claims. I quickly counted at least six responses that attribute the results to over-diagnosis or changing definitions, with affirming replies and no down-mods, with the exception of one profane post.

Are these all 'conservatives' rejecting [slashdot.org] 'science'?

Problem with this... (4, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#39517593)

...from my 37 years on this rock, I've seen the descriptor of ASD go from savant to a whole swathe of "abnormality", from minor zoneouts (such as I have frequently) to total withdrawal (which I have in times of extreme stress). All have been applied to me in passing although I've never had anything like an official diagnosis. I used to act out at school, not because I was ADHD (as false a diagnosis as MSbP), but because I was bored: I had already learned what the teachers were trying to teach me. Problem was, as is common today, the school teaches at the rate of the slowest kid in class. I could think faster than all those kids, even the teachers, combined. So according to them I was the one with the problem - in a way they were right. They were holding me back.

It's not mental illness, it's a defence mechanism.

Back to the topic: ASD/ADHD/AS descriptors have become so diluted over the years, the terms could be applied to anybody. Have you checked out the standard mental health questionnaires? So full of leading questions, you couldn't say no to more than half of them - which is pretty much a guarantee that in any given situation, you could be assessed as having traits of some debilitating mental illness or other that would disqualify you from mixing in public. It's used in the UK on a regular basis to remove children from parents where in fact there is absolutely nothing wrong with the parents, yet one simple questionnaire that takes five minutes to answer ticks the boxes of psychotic, MSbP, NPD, ASPD, any number of "diagnoses" that immediately justifies the forced separation of families.

What we have now is those diagnoses being publicly scrutinised as it's now emerged that the assessments have been carried out by persons unqualified to do so [dailymail.co.uk] , while claiming that they are qualified. Roy Meadow, Andrew Kawalek, Bruno Bettelheim, David Southall (just some names off the top of my head and I have extensive files on those and more) - all frauds, and provably so. Dangerous ones at that. All have had their hand in removal of many thousands of children from their families on the basis of fabricated mental illness. Southall does not even have a degree, yet he is on the GMC roll as a practising psychologist with license to carry out drug experiments on children. Gentlemen and ladies, I bullshit ye not [freeforums.org] .

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