×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Continued Rise In Autism Diagnoses Puzzles Researchers, Galvanizes Advocates

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the going-up dept.

Medicine 558

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised eyebrows, and concern among current and prospective parents, with a new report documenting that the rate of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in the United States jumped 30% between 2008 and 2010, from one in 88 to one in 68 children. CDC officials don't know, however, whether the startling increase is due to skyrocketing rates of the disorder or more sensitive screening, or a combination of both."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Medicalizing Normality (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619211)

'Nuff Said

Re:Medicalizing Normality (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619365)

Autism is mostly a crock of shit. Why must weird kids be diagnosed with something? Just allow them to be weird.

Also, if autistic and ADD and Asperger kids are getting more and more then we should get rid of them before the entire population is fucked.

Re:Medicalizing Normality (5, Interesting)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 8 months ago | (#46619371)

It's just a repeat of the "ADD" craze the medical industry was in in the 80's and 90's to make doctors feel needed and important....

Re:Medicalizing Normality (0, Flamebait)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46619657)

My son was born autistic, when the rate was 1 in 600,000 , 26 years ago.
But , of course, it couldnt be anything environmental. Science says the world is a safe place.
It couldnt be anything wrong with vaccinations. Someone important said it wasnt and of course Medicine knows what it is doing and has all the answers.
It couldnt be industrial chemicals in the food supply, we have government agencies to watch over us. It couldnt possibly have anything to do with science, politics or policy, those people are infinitely wise and caring and will rescue us with the right answers at the right times.
Autism is obviously a punishment by God for rejecting Fred Phelps and making fun of liberals.
It must be magic faeries.
Yeah, thats the ticket...

Clearly vaccination is to blame! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619223)

Those stupid scientists with their MMR shots!

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619327)

You know, while correlation does not equal causation, it also does not preclude it. And at this point it's just not because of more screening, etc. The incidences of autism, even under current guidelines, not long ago was one in the thousands, now we are well into one in the double digits. That's not simply more diagnosises.

As any honest doctor will tell you, it would not matter if tomorrow someone found absolute direct evidence of vaccination leading to autism, no medical establishment would ever, ever admit it. Yes, it is a conspiracy theory, LOL.

The simple reason why is that in their "let's play God, we know better" mentality, they would rather a ton of kids be born "wrong" than to have millions of people die should effectively eradicated diseases return. The whole "greater good" thing.

They may not be wrong to do that, but we also don't need to be pumping our kids with all the new vaccines they are getting today. When I was a kid in the 70's/80's you got 8-10 vaccinations, now the "recommendation" is for over 30. You don't need a chicken pox vaccination, for example - the old fashioned method of throwing your kid in the middle of an outbreak so they get it young and get it over with (as it's only dangerous to adults who did not have it) works fine.

Unlike some, I just also cannot deny the stories over and over from parents who have developmentally normal toddlers, who smile, laugh, interact, even have begun speaking - who suddenly within a week or two post-vaccination stop speaking, stop interacting, and don't even look at their parents anymore. While it may not cause it, it certainly seems to help it kick in. I'm sure the first folks who got lung cancer and thought it was due to smoking were laughed off, too. Or folks who went insane due to mercury or led poisoning. And those things didn't have terrified doctors involved who believe the best interest is to deny, either.

To be honest, what makes me the most skeptical is that doctors/scientists admit they have absolutely no idea what causes it, but they are SURE it is not vaccines. If they don't know what causes it, there is no logical way for them to be able to categorically eliminate vaccines as a cause. "There is no evidence" is not evidence of anything - it just means that no one has or wants to find any.

Since there is no way to actually eliminate vaccinations from being the cause without knowing what the cause is, and it's the one big change that just about every kid is exposed to (especially in the US, where autism is the most rampant), until someone comes up with the smoking gun, only someone who didn't think it was in our best interest would refuse to acknowledge the possibility, much less categorically deny it.

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619359)

nice troll

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46619543)

Yep. There's a strong correlation between being in a car and having a car accident but we're not trying to ban cars, are we?

PS: http://tallguywrites.livejourn... [livejournal.com]

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (0)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 8 months ago | (#46619381)

Doctors will NEVER admit they're wrong.

And you're right, they don't know what causes it, why are they so quick to say the vaccines aren't connected?

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619415)

Why are people so quick to say vaccines are connected? Wait until some weirdo declares that soap causes autism, and see how the world behaves even after the claim is debunked times over. Just like with vaccines. Enjoy the smell of the (literally) unwashed masses then.

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619515)

If soap contains Quick Silver [naturalnews.com] , indeed it can be wise to avoid. Hopefully, no soap does contain that!

It's nice to bring in real arguments now and then, not just emotional justification.

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619733)

any fucking site that says' detoxify or anything related should ring alarm bells. it's fucking sham scams.

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619637)

I have been soap free my entire life. I do not suffer from autism.

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619473)

Mostly because they know a shit-ton more than you do.

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about 8 months ago | (#46619647)

They don't care either. My Aunt went to the Hospital with dizziness, the last time she went they thought it may be a Stroke and treated her for it. This time a different Doctor was there and was more concerned with the Television show he was watching and sent her home without treatment. I guess the Television show was more important, perhaps he should of chosen a different profession if he doesn't have an interest in doing his Job.

I myself have been suffering from Heart related issues for quite a many years and all the Doctors seem more concerned about the how nice the Weather is outside. What America needs is a swift kick in the Medical Profession area. And Students need to choose Jobs they actually WANT to participate in.

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619743)

Not knowing what causes autism and yet knowing beyond reasonable doubt that vaccines don't is entirely consistent with all the medical evidence. Confusing these facts does not demonstrate that medical science is wrong.

Re: Clearly vaccination is to blame! (5, Insightful)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 8 months ago | (#46619471)

One thing that is certain is that vaccines save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children every year. But by all means, forego them if you really don't want to "take the risk."

really? really. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619225)

about a century and a half ago, nobody ever heard about autism.
you wouldn't be diagnosed an autist, but simply made to stand in a corner of the class with a dunce cap a lot.
i can picture the headlines.

autism discovered!

sudden surge in number of autists baffles scientists!

as we get better at diagnosing conditions like this, naturally there will be a rise in the number of positive diagnoses.

Re:really? really. (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 8 months ago | (#46619251)

yeah and factors like the education system, social net-working, yahoo ,microsoft etc .. are bound to contribute towards this sudden increase ..

Re:really? really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619299)

Um, yes, but in 2007 autism had been discovered, so that's a poor explanation for the current rise.

Re:really? really. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46619349)

about a century and a half ago, nobody ever heard about autism. you wouldn't be diagnosed an autist, but simply made to stand in a corner of the class with a dunce cap a lot.

Another couple of centuries before that they would have been called hermits and generally venerated.

Re:really? really. (5, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 8 months ago | (#46619425)

Plus a number of parents that can't accept that their precious offspring simply may be plain stupid or lazy as any other kid.

There HAS to be a reason and there HAS to be someone or something responsible for Li'l Joe standing in the corner with the dunce cap so often.

And I guess that still leaves a bit of wiggle room for an actual increase of people ending up somewhere in the autistic spectrum.

Re:really? really. (0)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46619603)

Plus a number of parents that can't accept that their precious offspring simply may be plain stupid or lazy as any other kid.

This.

Re:really? really. (5, Informative)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#46619707)

Actually, the article states about half of those diagnosed have average or above average intelligence. Thus, autism is becoming less and less about intelligence and more about just having different behavior. I think this will likely be a great thing, as it will help separate the conflation of autism with mental retardation. This will benefit everyone across the spectrum of intelligence, and along the spectrum of what we consider severity for autism.

Shifting thresholds (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#46619227)

I suspect a lot of diagnoses concern borderline cases, that would previously not have been counted as verified autism - so before, people would be classified as "odd" or "geeky" but not as someone who carries a mental disability.

The same thing happened with depression. In the old days, depression was virtually unheard of, aside from extreme cases of people constantly trying to take their own lives. Nowadays, everybody and their dog gets depressed at some point during the year, and prescribed medicine.

Re:Shifting thresholds (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46619263)

Nowadays, everybody and their dog gets depressed at some point during the year, and prescribed medicine.

Sadly this is literally true [webmd.com]

Re:Shifting thresholds (-1)

Rennt (582550) | about 8 months ago | (#46619455)

"Sadly", huh. Do you think dogs are incapable of experiencing depression, or do you simply believe they should be denied treatment because non-human?

Re:Shifting thresholds (4, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46619463)

Maybe he's just sad that dogs get sad.

Re:Shifting thresholds (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46619577)

Maybe he's just sad that dogs get sad.

Well that is sad but I was mainly thinking its sad that many dogs will be medicated for no valid reason - as I think most of these cases will be just a diagnosis for cash.

Re:Shifting thresholds (1)

will_die (586523) | about 8 months ago | (#46619595)

And that is why cats are better.
With a cat you just wouldn't know or much less care.

Re:Shifting thresholds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619589)

Many years ago, I believe I was in 4 grade, my mother became more ill than what had caused her to be home all the time for years and ended up staying at the hospital for a almost a month.
At some point our dog started limping on one leg. My father and I took it to the vet twice, and they never managed to find anything wrong. At the second visit he asked if there was anything special going on in the family so we talked about that and he figured that was the reason. Not only was my mother gone, the dog now spent several hours at home alone, until I got home from school.

When my mother returned from the hospital, the limping went away.

Re:Shifting thresholds (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619607)

I suspect you're talking out of your ass. We know for a fact that older parents increase the risk for a long range of defects. That we live in a society where prospective parents wait longer and longer until they "do the deed" so to speak is also an undeniable fact. So, in what way is it surprising that autism etc is on the rise?

Re: Shifting thresholds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619625)

Aaaand you clearly don't understand clinical depression. It's not "a case of the mondays," it's years of debilitating sickness that affects every aspect of one's life.

One thing to consider, is it over- diagnosis because it is a new disorder, or are environmental changes messing with our heads? Autism and depression are two conditions that people live to criticize (especially conservative people), but maybe the assload of hormone-mimicking chemicals we've been swimming in for decades are possibly bad for us. Call me crazy (because I literally am).

Re:Shifting thresholds (1, Insightful)

MrMickS (568778) | about 8 months ago | (#46619689)

The same thing happened with depression. In the old days, depression was virtually unheard of, aside from extreme cases of people constantly trying to take their own lives. Nowadays, everybody and their dog gets depressed at some point during the year, and prescribed medicine.

How does this get modded as insightful? People feeling depressed and clinical depression are two very different things. Its easy to laugh off and make glib comments. It doesn't make them true though.

When were these old days of which you speak? Winston Churchill, yes that one, suffered from depression which he called his "Black Dog". Greater access to healthcare, and better trained physicians, will always increased apparent incidence of mental conditions. Is it right that in previous times these people would suffer in silence?

Galvanises? (5, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46619229)

At last, the real culprit is revealed: zinc.

Endo/Entero-symbionts (1)

thorgil (455385) | about 8 months ago | (#46619231)

My bet:
* Endo/entero-symbiotic microorganisms

Known to alter behaviour in insects and small mammals

Re:Endo/Entero-symbionts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619239)

I watched the recent TED talk too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Autism is the new ADD (5, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | about 8 months ago | (#46619233)

Not saying that all or even most of the diagnoses of autism are false positives, but when you're living in a world where human communities are dwindling and become more insular - so there is less direct social engagement, extended families are spread across continents - so this core social unit is less dynamic and extensive, and people spend more and more time in front of screens - at work and at home, this sort of result is not overly surprising. Shit, when did the first iPhone come out? Mid 2007? Coincidence? iThink not.

Increased screening sensitivity is probably playing a big factor as well: "Tommy seems rather introverted and shuns the company of others. He also throws a huge tantrum when we take away the tablet with the toons on it. Probably autism." I'm not saying this is due to negligent parenting, but when there is an obvious diagnosis that fits the symptoms, why look any further? Again, these are the marginal cases which are sufficiently prevalent to cause this spike.

Re:Autism is the new ADD (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46619253)

so there is less direct social engagement, extended families are spread across continents - so this core social unit is less dynamic and extensive, and people spend more and more time in front of screens

Hmm, don't the core traits of autistic spectrum disorders manifest themselves within the few first years of life? You'll have hard time trying to convince me that "spending more time in front of screens" applies to toddlers. That's where you probably where you ought to start if you're looking for the cause.

Re:Autism is the new ADD (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46619271)

Autism is early onset, autism spectrum disorders are less clear. It's not obvious whether this is because they are early-onset but the symptoms are subtler and harder to identify, or because they're distinct syndromes.

Re:Autism is the new ADD (2)

korbulon (2792438) | about 8 months ago | (#46619281)

Hmm, don't the core traits of autistic spectrum disorders manifest themselves within the few first years of life? You'll have hard time trying to convince me that "spending more time in front of screens" applies to toddlers. That's where you probably where you ought to start if you're looking for the cause.

Most toddlers I've seen in the past few years are far more adept at using a touchscreen than their grandparents. Again, my theory is that this spike is due to misdiagnoses rather than real cases. Some critical insight would be gained by looking at similar studies from other countries, assuming these exist.

Re:Autism is the new ADD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619339)

It's not a theory, it's a wild conjecture. Where is your evidence for a rise in misdiagnosis?

Re:Autism is the new ADD (3, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | about 8 months ago | (#46619421)

It's not a theory, it's a wild conjecture. Where is your evidence for a rise in misdiagnosis?

Oh, I don't know - maybe the fact that this study is based in the US, which has a track record of "over-diagnosing" mental health disorders in children, such as ADHD ( http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd... [cdc.gov] , http://www.psychiatrictimes.co... [psychiatrictimes.com] ).

Fool me once, shame on ... shame on you. Fool me... You can't get fooled again!

Re:Autism is the new ADD (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46619311)

You'll have hard time trying to convince me that "spending more time in front of screens" applies to toddlers.

You need to go outside more...

Re:Autism is the new ADD (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 8 months ago | (#46619685)

The number of people I have seen who just plonk their kid down in front of the TV and stick the kids network on has risen dramatically in the past decade - and now you even see it when out in public, the number of toddler aged children in push chairs with an iPhone or iPad (or equivilent) mounted on a stand attached to the push chair continuously playing some kids show or other...

Interacting with children seems to be a huge issue these days, one most parents cant be bothered with.

Re:Autism is the new ADD (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#46619737)

TVs seem to be in decline as of late. You mentioned an iPad, but those tend to be at least as social as a video game console, while TVs aren't social at all. 20 years ago, those same kids would have been playing video games alone in their room.

That's a bit simplistic... (4, Insightful)

Two99Point80 (542678) | about 8 months ago | (#46619287)

There is much, much more to the process of professional evaluation and diagnosis than what you describe. The process is a whole lot more rigorous than idle speculation.

Re:That's a bit simplistic... (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 8 months ago | (#46619351)

There is much, much more to the process of professional evaluation and diagnosis than what you describe. The process is a whole lot more rigorous than idle speculation.

Even so, do you really think this spike is 100% due to correct diagnoses? If not, how much? A 30% increase is huge. When you get that kind of shift in your results, your first question as a researcher should be: how did my methodology change? Easier said than done for psychiatric studies where human judgment playts such a key factor, but the burden is on the researchers to reexamine their experimental method in light of such a spike.

Re:That's a bit simplistic... (1)

udippel (562132) | about 8 months ago | (#46619483)

There is much, much more to the process of professional evaluation and diagnosis than what you describe. The process is a whole lot more rigorous than idle speculation.

May it be as it is or as you describe it.

Fact is, that autism is a fairly recent addition to the spectrum of diseases. Therefore, to start with, the numbers of diagnosed suffers is bound to increase until the last practitioner has been formally educated about it.

Secondly, irrespective of the scientific background, at my age I have seen a number of increases/decreases of 'fashionable' diagnoses. Some 30 years ago, one third of the school kids from where I lived and worked had a paper on them certifying dyslexia. This number peaked, and was followed by around one third of the kids, in the same school, within a few years, to carry a certificate of 'highly gifted'. I for one make this a problem of the parents; not so much on the children.

Thirdly, with all the talk of 'individual' and 'holistic', I actually can perceive (I never bothered to come with with scientific proof) that on the other hand, the personal perspectives tend to become ever more unified, one could say ISO-ised, with a spectrum of ever more uniform expectations of a person growing up. Achievements, career perspectives, financial expectations are ever more tightly knit for the individual. Success, in this sense, is what a society expects it to be. Despite of factual and legal liberties with regards to sexual or religious orientation (to give an example), the day-to-day, worse hour-to-hour expectations get more uniform. Some friends of us noticed this. A girl of 20 is shunned for not putting constantly photos of her daily foods up at that service. Another one is looked down on for riding a push-bike to school. Hell, if I were at that age, I'd either kill myself or exclude myself from all those implicit demands, that are rolling in 24/7. Rolling in constantly only because the world is now connected round the clock.

Fourth, and just to avoid the third to not become too long, who of us haven't been scolded for not answering one's handy?

And here I doubt that science is really objective; nor could it be: a diagnosis of social behaviour must necessarily depend on socio-cultural expectations.
Someone who refuses to participate in the social networks looks pretty much like an autistic personality. Only 20 years ago, had he/she been content with personal conversation, this diagnosis could not have included the notion of 'socially active and approachable 24/7'.

Re:Autism is the new ADD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619317)

Mid 2007? Coincidence? iThink not.

Lots of events occurred in 2007.

when there is an obvious diagnosis that fits the symptoms, why look any further?

Um, because you're not stupid enough to think you can understand autism via knee-jerk reactionism?

With this kind of anti-scientific approach to these things, I'm surprised you didn't mention vaccination as being the obvious cause of autism; after all there are anecdotes from parents who believe it is.

Know your tantrums (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619427)

Parents, scientists, doctors, need to tell a normal tantrum from an autistic one (if there is such a classification).

I have 2 kids, one of which has Asperger's. Both have tantrums when I take the tablet with cartoons on them. Don't quickly assume there's something wrong with your kid... kids do this, they don't know about abstinence, or don't understand yet why everything should be consumed in moderation (heck, some people never understand).

Also, the tantrum may seem visually different (hand flapping) but one important difference is the reason. The reason a "normal" or neurotypical kid has tantrums is obvious and correlates with the time and place it happened (just now). The autistic person's reason could be something completely irrelevant to the present time or place, something that happened long or short time ago, usually at school, a few hours ago.

Yeah but (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619241)

1 in 10 turn out to be gay. Now that IS alarming. That is 1 in 10 people. 1 in 10!

Re:Yeah but (3, Funny)

Calydor (739835) | about 8 months ago | (#46619269)

1 in 10 is not a disorder.

It's a harem.

Re:Yeah but (2)

Evtim (1022085) | about 8 months ago | (#46619297)

Ohh, how I wish it was something like 9 out of 10. Or better 99 out of a 100. Can you imagine how many women will be left "unattended"? Can you?

I never understood the hatred towards gay men. It means more women for the rest of us, you sillies! Now, lesbians are another matter entirely...yet heterosexual males looooove lesbians [or at least lesbian porn] but hate gays. So weird...

Re:Yeah but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619457)

but that would mean that 99 out of 100 women would also be gay therefore not increasing your already slim odds of getting laid.

Re:Yeah but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619487)

The way I see it, then you say "gay men" what you actually communicate is "penis covered in shit", which explains why gay men are hated more. By the same people who don't mind getting shit on their dick if it comes from a woman...

DSM fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619259)

With every new edition of DSM, disorders percentages rise. In the next edition, every living person will be incuded in the description of a disorder. And in the one after, death will also be incuded within the disorders.

One guess (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619267)

All the shit americans eat. "GMOs are harmless, oh nom nom nom nom." (message sponsored by Monsanto)

Education funding and excessive medicallisation (5, Interesting)

NoNeeeed (157503) | about 8 months ago | (#46619283)

Part of the problem in the UK (so may not be the same in the US) is that there is additional funding and support for kids with diagnoses like ASDs so there is a big incentive for schools and parents to push for it. It's driving a whole approach of medicalising behaviour. Kids who in the past would have been simply regarded as a bit unusual and who a teacher would have had to just cope with are now being given medical diagnoses and possibly additional help.

As discussed in the article what would be interesting to see is more detail on the distribution of ASD diagnoses, in terms of where they sit on the spectrum. If there is an increase the diagnosis of severe autism (the kids who would reasonably have been diagnose as autistic 30 years ago) then that would suggest that there is some environmental factor at work. If, on the other hand it's mostly high functioning and borderline then it seems likely to be mostly down to diagnosis.

While I'm very much in favour of education being better able to deal with kids' differences, I'm not sure medicalising it is the way to go.

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619343)

Until you have an autistic child, I would shut the fuck up.

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619537)

This!

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619569)

No, you shut up. You do realize that people getting their normilish kids diagnosed as autistic is actually talking money from your kid. People want to feel important and having an autistic kid helps them feel important.(And that's consider sociologically normal, BTW) Yeah, it's stupid but that is what I think is behind a lot of these my kid stacked his toys by size once and is a little shy around other kids he's unfamiliar with. Hmmm, must be something really wrong with him... Or he is just the kid he is. Now your kid might insist on stacking his toys by size getting intensely angry if someone moves them around a bit and doesn't play with them ever. He can't socialize normally even when given enough time to get over being shy or unfamiliar with the other kid. But both kids could be diagnosed as having autism....

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619363)

Kids who in the past would have been simply regarded as a bit unusual and who a teacher would have had to just cope with are now being given medical diagnoses and possibly additional help.

Diagnoses?! Additional help?! How terrible!!!

I'm not sure medicalising it is the way to go.

What does "medicalising" even mean? It sounds like a made-up pejorative to try to turn giving people drugs that may help them into some kind of bad thing. What evidence do you have in favour of your tacit assumption that basically we should not use science to try to help people, if it crosses some arbitrary line you've drawn in the sand regarding the use of various chemicals?

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619411)

It's part of a cult-like attitude some people have stating that the medical establishment is against them, wants to sell them tons of pills and completely destroy all forms of social help and contact. I did a class on disability where they attempted to demonise scientists and doctors because of the "medical model of disability" vs the "social model of disability." Of course, any test I proposed, including asking doctors and scientists what they actually thought about it, was completely ignored and they remained unphased.

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619465)

I think the question is, are all autistic people ill, or are they just part of the wide spectrum of human personality.

Is it that they are ill and require drugs to 'cure' them, or is it that modern society no longer tolerates them as well as in the past.

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 8 months ago | (#46619505)

What does "medicalising" even mean? It sounds like a made-up pejorative to try to turn giving people drugs that may help them into some kind of bad thing. What evidence do you have in favour of your tacit assumption that basically we should not use science to try to help people, if it crosses some arbitrary line you've drawn in the sand regarding the use of various chemicals?

I'd rather make up the term "over-medicalising" to describe better where the problem starts. That happens when diagnosis starts to overreach and offers (=sells) help to people who are still well within the "normal spectrum".

Understanding that there is something like an "autistic spectrum" was indeed great progress. But we now need to learn (or rather re-learn) that there is also a "normal spectrum". And they may overlapp. Just think of that classical "eccentric" who may be deeper in his own private reality than most "Aspergers" but not suffer from any actual medical problem.

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 8 months ago | (#46619651)

What does "medicalising" even mean?

It's when, rather than the system adapting to its population, the population are offered drugs that will change their behavior. If you choose not to take the drugs and remain a "disruptive individual", that frames you as someone who has made a choice to be disruptive, because you've been offered the "tools" you need to fit in.

People who use the term "medicalising" reject this view. They believe that if the system doesn't adapt to its population, that represents persecution. They frame the medical professional as someone who is refusing to accept people as they are, and are attempting to overstep their bounds in a bid for power, money, control, respect, whatever.

Still confused?

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (1)

symes (835608) | about 8 months ago | (#46619373)

While I'm very much in favour of education being better able to deal with kids' differences, I'm not sure medicalising it is the way to go.

I completely agree with this - but more with those maybe cases. There will always be a bunch of kids with very clear and profound issues and who need a formal diagnosis to trigger appropriate support. It is those kids who go through the usual developmental issues but who have uninformed helicopter parents pushing clinical staff into providing treatment in some shape of form. It is not just school. What I think we do need in some cases is professional face slappers to bring people back to the real world and just let kids grow up.

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619451)

Also scarry about the exccelation; I got extra funding and support for very mild dyslexia.

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619555)

My grandparents clearly had autism. It was never formally diagnosed. They had all sorts of interesting personality disorders (DSM!) and unhealthy destructive relationships.

My parents clearly had autism. It was never formally diagnosed. They have all sorts of interesting personality disorders (DSM) and unhealthy destructive relationships.

I clearly have autism. It was never formally diagnosed. My parents dealt with it by physical punishment. They hit me with wooden sticks so they wouldn't hurt their hands. I grew up really fucked up. Imagine being randomly beaten for reasons you do not and can not understand. I spent 2 decades clinically depressed, actively trying to kill myself. I know what arsenic tastes like. I know what it's like to hold a knife to my wrist, a gun to my head, and want, more than anything, to pull the trigger and end my pain and suffering. Sometimes you hold on for just another day. Sometimes for only a few more seconds of life. You know how a child's mind works? I used to wonder if I had already died, and already gone to hell, as I couldn't imagine anything worse.

I got out of that. I got help. I spent almost another 20 years in psychotherapy, putting the pieces of my mind back together again. Unlearning the self-destructive behaviors I had unconsciously accepted. Not an easy thing.

Today, I'm in my fifties. Today, my children have autism. It has been diagnosed. I have them seeing some of the best doctors in the country, right on the leading (bleeding) edge of medicine.

Today we understand how layers of the brain's neural structure do not develop properly in autistic kids. How autism has many causes. Some kids will respond to gluten free diets. Others to dairy free diets. There are blood tests that can pick up on the antigens, telling us which kids can be helped by such alterations. It's known that their gut (intestines) are leaking proteins, causing the immune reaction picked up by the blood tests. It's known that these proteins can bind to neural receptor sites, and how they can act exactly like narcotics.

Today it's known how still others kids have problems with nuts, with artificial sweeteners, or with artificial colors. There are a many dietary problems, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Other kids have difficulties with heavy metals. Others have, well, the list of causes here goes on and on and on. Autism is a catch-all disease, describing symptoms with a great number of underlying causative factors.

Bottom line here is that there is a lot we can do to help these kids without fucking them up for life with depression or psychosis through abuse. If you don't deal with their problems, it is abuse. We assume control they do not possess. They can develop into great engineers, doctors, whatever. They're bright kids. Just different. They don't have to become monsters. We don't have to turn them into monsters!

Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (2)

dontbgay (682790) | about 8 months ago | (#46619701)

By your own account, those problems aren't medical. They're cultural.

Evolution in action? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619293)

A biological adaptation to the inundation of data?

Or endless 'vaccinations' (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619307)

No, that would have nothing to do with it, of course...

Re:Or endless 'vaccinations' (5, Informative)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 8 months ago | (#46619329)

Please stop spreading the vaccine-autism bullshit. It's been consistently debunked and was only ever supported by a single flawed study that a celebrity took charge of spreading to scare parents out of vaccinating their children.

Re:Or endless 'vaccinations' (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 8 months ago | (#46619745)

The scare over the MMR vaccine did serve one useful purpose - it mean scientists went to considerable trouble to establish if there was a link between that vaccine or any other and did not find one. And the journalist Brian Deer shone a spotlight on Andrew Wakefield's shoddy study, unethical practices, invasive procedures and his massive conflicts of interest and eventually he was struck off.

Secondly, if there were a link, then we should expect to be able to observe it thanks to the activity of celebrity morons like Jenny McCarthy. If vaccination or the minute traces of an antimicrobial called thimerosal (a mercury compound) used in some vaccines were the cause of autism then surely it should observable in the rates of autism? After the scare, less people vaccinated and manufacturers removed thimerosal from childhood vaccines so there should have been an observable effect on autism rates. There wasn't.

Re:Or endless 'vaccinations' (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 8 months ago | (#46619633)

Why single out vaccination? Perhaps it's air pollution, or electro magnetic interference, or artificial light bulbs, or noise / vibration, or artificial fabrics, or radon gas, or a more sedentary lifestyle, or residual chemicals from dishwashing tablets, or the age that mothers get pregnant, or the stress of daily life on mother & child, or one of thousands of other things that might affect development of a child's brain in the womb or afterwards.

Or maybe, just maybe it's a combination of factors, each bearing its own small risk and in conjunction increasing the rate. Or maybe it's simply better and more sensitive diagnoses of the condition.

One thing is certain. The link between vaccination and autism has been extensively searched for and there isn't one.

Could it be food? (3, Interesting)

ruir (2709173) | about 8 months ago | (#46619377)

The way we feed has changed radically in a few decades. Nowadays we can only find often GMO sources of some foods, not talking about plastic food and MGS sources ... cookies, potato chips, bread... As a pure anecdotal "evidence" I was recently with my wife in the Philippines two and half weeks, and despite eating far much more, she lost weight, and I lost my belly.

Re:Could it be food? (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 8 months ago | (#46619379)

Sorry, MSG sources. And soda pops. My ex used to drink about 10 litres of coke a week, even when pregnant.

Re:Could it be food? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619429)

there has been much research done into the food and autism link. source: http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/p/scd-autism/ [breakingth...cycle.info] . btw, i used this diet to beat ulcerative colitis.

however mainstream science will never accept that eating incorrectly (note that i didnt say "poorly") for the kind of the bacteria that inhabits ones body could be the cause of various "uncurable" ailments. such blashempy is shoved under "homeopathic medicine" and is thus generally regarded as witchcraft.

Re:Could it be food? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#46619575)

I was recently with my wife in the Philippines two and half weeks, and despite eating far much more, she lost weight, and I lost my belly.

In two and a half weeks??? You had a very small belly then, I take it? Because it's pretty hard to lose even ten pounds in that time-frame without stopping eating altogether.

Putting the cart before the horse (5, Insightful)

Buck Feta (3531099) | about 8 months ago | (#46619385)

The question is simply answered: diagnoses are more prevalent because the drugs to treat those patients now exists. It is not mere coincidence that the FDA approved the use of Risperdal in late 2006, and its generic, Risperidone, in late 2008. There were more than a few doctors who have made more than a few dollars from prescribing tis medication. Johnson & Johnson has to pay a $2.2 billion dollar fine [digitaljournal.com] for illegally marketing this drug through the use of kickbacks to doctors and pharmacists. So don't tell me the pharmaceutical isn't dirtier than a whore's whose-its. Everyone relax. Autism rates will decline when these drugs get a bad enough name. Then, a more expensive drug will be produced to treat a more common malady, and everyone will freak the fuck out again.

Re: Putting the cart before the horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619643)

But but but ... FDA is big gubbmint! The invisible hand of the market will correct this!!! /s

Reporting != incidence (1)

American Patent Guy (653432) | about 8 months ago | (#46619407)

If the reporting were a completely reliable process that yielded the same result on the same population, regardless of the time and practitioners involved, then I'd worry. Given that practitioners make their money off of positive diagnoses, I would be highly suspicious that many of these are simply therapists who are trying to fill their calendars.

(I say that knowing that my ex had my three children tested by one practitioner, who suddenly found all of mine on the same day to be abnormal and in need of governmental assistance.)

When no one watches the watchers, this is the result.

Jenny McCarthy knows ! (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 8 months ago | (#46619417)

Of course, just why it would suddenly go up a the same time vaccination rates are at such a massive low that we're dealing with major outbreaks of formerly all but eradicated diseases I'm not sure but I'm certain that you could understand if you had her PHD (Pretty Hump of Distraction).

Re:Jenny McCarthy knows ! (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#46619567)

Of course, just why it would suddenly go up a the same time vaccination rates are at such a massive low that we're dealing with major outbreaks of formerly all but eradicated diseases I'm not sure but I'm certain that you could understand if you had her PHD (Pretty Hump of Distraction).

Vaccination rates are at a "massive low"???

According to CDC, vaccination rates for MMR are about 90%, which is where they've been for the last couple decades.

As to "major outbreaks of all but eradicated diseases", the numbers I've seen for measles deaths is ~175, as compared to the ~200 for West Nile Virus. Hardly a "major outbreak" (though it was certainly played in the news like it was one - slow news day, no doubt).

Re:Jenny McCarthy knows ! (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 8 months ago | (#46619597)

When the number a decade ago was near-zero - 175 is massive, because it predicts that this years number will be much higher, it's the beginning of the breakdown of herd immunity.

Are you actually suggesting the the antivaxer (sorry, that's not politically correct - I mean the "pro-disease") movement has had zero impact on vaccination rates ? This should be news to the medical fraternity - you better inform them !

Grow up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619601)

Vaccination rates are not at an all-time low. That's just plain false.

The number of different kinds of drugs being injected into children today is a great deal more plentiful than when I was a kid.

More direct-to-bloodstream chemicals at formative ages = greater chance of developmental risk. Duh.

Also, the recent press given to outbreaks can be attributed to a few other causes other than that attributed by the (obviou$) medical propaganda. Shit food=shit immune systems. Also, people given non-dead viruses in their jabs can actually become disease vectors themselves. That one's scary. Holier-than-thou assholes spreading the very disease they think they're eradicating. (Of course, people committed to the happy-fuzzy belief in corruption-free Star Trek solutions will quickly try to not let that idea percolate).

Though, to be fair, I don't put the rise in autism down to just corporate jabs. (Protected from prosecution, guaranteed profit corporate jabs). But I also view with suspicion our home environments, EM environments and food supply, which are also far more loaded down with crap than when I was a kid.

Autism is Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619437)

The Human mind is a delicate thing, cutting edge changes to it don't always work out great (and more often than not won't) but when they do it's just that. Autism is a range of mutations that overall are in a favorable direction toward advanced intellect and lower animalistic emotion-driven behavior. There is no mistake in the fact that when you breed two intellectuals you get an autist 70% of the time - it's the literal bleeding edge of Human intellectual evolutionary development.

I have the answer! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46619459)

I blame High Fructose Corn Syrup.

I would blame Obama, but that doesnt fit the same time window.

Lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619467)

Its the lead and other heavy metals in the toys from china. They have a plot to take over the world by rendering most countries inhabited by autistic people only thereby easy pickings for attack.

I blame today's entitled flower society. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619519)

Once upon a time, retards would be locked away, but now they're put through school and allowed to breed. If we just executed them, there would be less of them, right? I propose that we could make a spectacle of it, as it would be very entertaining to beat an autismal retard to death while they're doing that head-slapping and rocking back and forth. Best of all is that retard noise they make.

I know why! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619583)

There's strong positive correlation with the amount of autism and the visibility of the anti-vaccer fools.

Increased incidence or broader definitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619641)

The medical folk in my family complain about this all the time. What they see is that because of the special funding and other programs offered for children diagnosed with 'autism spectrum disorder' there is even a perverse desire to get their kids classified. This effect is coupled with broader definitions of the problem -- autism is now autism spectrum disorder, encompassing a much wider range of symptoms. Even the OP hints at this. What I am not sure we know is whether for a constant set of diagnostic markers the incidence is increasing. If so, I can only speculate around the uncontrolled experiments with chemical food additives we persist in.

Study: brain abnormalities linked to autism (NEJM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46619667)

Children with autism may have irregular clusters of neurons in the brain, according to a paper published on Wednesday, March 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings suggest brain abnormalities in children with autism can be traced back to prenatal development.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/for-children-with-autism-brain-abnormalities-may-begin-in-utero/

Or dumb (0)

Swampash (1131503) | about 8 months ago | (#46619687)

bitches like Jenny McCarthy, who decided "omg my kid sneezed, he has autisms!!1"

Women delaying birth (1)

areusche (1297613) | about 8 months ago | (#46619713)

I know science has yet to prove this, but as a betting man i'd say women delaying birth well into their unfertile 30+ years is a big factor in this. Men don't have a wall and a clock, women have a crazy one.

Delayed birth by women (0)

areusche (1297613) | about 8 months ago | (#46619727)

I don't have science to back up my claim, but as a betting man i'd say delaying birth into a woman's 30s is probably what is driving up the autism rates. Men don't have a wall and a biological clock to contend to. Don't let the hamstering say otherwise, women who delay birth until their 30s+ have a higher rate of genetic diseases. As men, our sperm and "clock" is significantly more forgiving than a women's almost to the point of it being a non-issue.

School aid (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46619731)

So the neighbor kid was diagnosed with this... and I didn't want to irritate his parents by pointing out the obvious but that kids just obnoxious, there's nothing wrong with him. But oh well... then the school brought in a specialist for MY kid, and they determined that my kid was having trouble in school because he was bi-lingual. You see, my son was born in Africa and we adopted him when he was 2. The funny thing is, he never spoke their language. The only word he knew in his native language when we got him was "Abas" which means "Father" which he'd yell whenever he was afraid of something. I pointed this out to the school but they insisted. Being somewhat of a libertarian I objected to the school wasting money on a special program for him. Then they got nasty. I was trying to impede the progress of my child and it would not be tolerated. A week later the teacher had an assistant 2 days of the week provided by the state to handle her "Bi-lingual" class. Ah, it was all clear now... The school diagnoses disabilities to garner more aid, and more resources from state and federal agencies. They push parents to doctors they know will produce favorable diagnoses and use anything they can find in the childs background to get the result they want.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?