Neurotoxins Fueling Autism Epidemic
In 2015, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) reported that 1 in 45 children in the United States now has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which includes Asperger’s Syndrome (a milder version of the disease). Just a few years ago, the rate was estimated at one in 88.
Nationwide, the number of 6- to 21-year-old students classified as having autism rose 165 percent between 2005 and 2014. Autism spectrum disorders are found in individuals around the world, regardless of their ethnic, cultural, or economic backgrounds. Autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age two. About one out of every 100 adults has ASD, but that ratio will rise as young victims age.
The global prevalence of autism has increased twenty- to thirty-fold since the first population studies were conducted in Europe in the late 1960s and ’70s, according to background information provided in the new report. At that time, research suggested that only 1 in 2,500 children in Europe were affected by autism.
In the United States, according to a 2010 study by the CDC, Utah, North Carolina and New Jersey have the highest rates of autism. ASD strikes one in every 32 Utah boys, and one in every 85 girls. In New Jersey, one in every 28 boys has ASD. The picture has likely changed dramatically since 2010. Plus, these regional discrepancies may reflect the varying ability to identify autism cases versus the actual incidence of the disease. Another factor that hampers research is the fact that some parents are reluctant to have their children labeled, which means that they avoid honest answers or avoid the screenings altogether. Diagnosis among ethnic minority children lags behind, so it’s unknown how many children with autism remain undiagnosed.
Boys are five times more likely to have autism than girls.
It’s also important to note that not all autism is the same. Like neurodegenerative disease, autism appears to vary depending on which region of the brain is under assault. Abnormal proteins are now associated with autism. In fact, it appears that the biggest difference between the neurodegenerative disease spectrum and autism spectrum disorders is age. Both spectrums share common environmental causes and pathologies.
“Rather than there being one ‘autism,’ these findings show that there are several autisms, each with its own specific course,” said Isaac Kohane, the Lawrence J. Henderson Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, co-director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and leader of the research team. The results appeared Dec. 9 in Pediatrics.
“There has certainly been an increase in awareness, and that drives families toward earlier action … It drives them to ask questions at earlier ages, and it also increases the probability of detection,” Rob Ring, chief science officer with the nonprofit Autism Speaks, told The Huffington Post. “We also know that surveillance itself is improving. Groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics have instituted guidelines for screening, which increase the chances of picking up kids who have been missed previously.”
Ring added that the diagnostic criteria for autism has changed over the years, most recently with the release of DSM-5 — the so-called “bible” of modern psychiatry. Among other things, the new edition of the DSM has folded Asperger’s syndrome into the broader category of ASD.
“But that’s not the full picture,” said Ring. “We know that risk factors such as increasing parental age are likely adding modestly to increases as well. Science continues to reveal interesting interactions between genetics and the environment.”
Studies suggest that two-thirds of the autism epidemic is environmentally caused, which explains the regional variations from one part of the country to another.
“I suspected that connection between environmental status to the rate of autism might exist, but the signal is much stronger than I expected,” said researcher Andrey Rzhetsky, PhD from the University Of Chicago.
In support of an environmental cause, we can’t ignore that the global Alzheimer’s disease epidemic and the autism epidemic both began to rise in the late 1970s. They began to spike dramatically in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The spike in autism and Alzheimer’s disease are almost identical in terms of timing and trajectory. Is it just a coincidence or is there a common denominator at work?
As we continue connecting the dots, we can’t ignore a devastating brain disease in members of the deer family known as chronic wasting disease (CWD), a neurological epidemic in nature that shares the same timing and trajectory as autism and Alzheimer’s disease. They all speak volumes about a deadly form of environmental contamination. Thanks to reckless policies and practices, the neurotoxins are being spread like fertilizer. Read More About The Autism Epidemic http://alzheimerdisease.tv/autism/
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