Poll: Reason for the rise in autism spectrum

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Drew Bethel, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Given that autism spectrum is of epidemic proportions with 1 of 166 american kids being diagnosed with it, what do you think causes it:

    - Genetic disposition
    - Exposure to mercury (via vaccinations, etc)
    - Exposure to environmental toxins
    - Better diagnosis/awareness
    - Other

    My position: I believe that while all of the above have a role in the increased cases of autism, exposure to mercury though vaccinations is the biggest culprit.
     
  2. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Overdiagnosis.
     
  3. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Overdiagnosis of current children, coupled with underdiagnosis in previous generations. (ie: Children with minor autistic, attention defecit, or other learning disorders were not usually labeled "disabled", but usually just lazy or antsy).
     
  4. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    I believe that autism is frequently caused by too much gluten (usually wheat), dairy & sugar in the diet.

    These are also contributors to the obesity problem we are having in America.
     
  5. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Fortunately, you'll get a whole week to find out what the experts think:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6844737/

    From what I've heard, vaccination has been largely dismissed? Legitimately? I don't know.
     
  6. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    - not mercury
    - more other things. Lifestyle is getting very fast these days, kids really don't get as much attention from their parents on an evenly distributed basis anymore. we overexpose them to crap on TV, and frequently crap in other ways too. Of the family-borne, day to day interaction with parents, siblings, etc they don't get much, instead they're frequently bundled off into the nearest daycare or other place.

    I'm not saying that the parents don't feel bad about this; I am saying that it too has reached epidemic proportions and IMHo correlates pretty well with the rise in autism, ADD, ADHD, & cohorts.

    Add to that the hectic lifestyle, goota do this here, gotta do that there, all within 5 minutes, and where can they get in edgewise?
     
  7. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Please, think before you post!
    Vaccinations are not a significant source of exposure to mercury, and haven't been for decades; while studies in Scandinavian countries, where the government keeps strict medical records on everybody, demonstrate convincingly that the only statistically or clinically significant effect of vaccination is the one everybody knew about: a significant degree of personal immunity, and a high degree of societal immunity to epidemics as long as the vaccination rate is more than 95%. [Coal power plants are a leading source of mercury exposure, since it goes diorectly into the air, along with uranium, thorium, radium, polonium, sulphur and nitrogen oxides, and everything else those trees soaked up in the Carboniferous epoch, along with toxic combustion products. Nuclear power is the answer!]
    As for the increase in "autism" diagnoses, nowadays there is a great deal of intolerance for real interpersonal variation -- not the fake plastic variation of clothes and hairstyles [though that pops up too] but differences in ways of seeing and dealing with other persons and the world. This intolerance is of course extremely dangerous to our society, but what else is new? Many of the accepted trends in our society are extremely destructive even in the near term.
     
  8. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    The poll on MSNBC shows the majority thinks it's vaccinations too. From casual perceptions, I can see why the majority would think this as it got a fair bit of exposure by the mainstream media.
     
  9. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Actually vaccinations ARE a significant source of mercury when you consider the number of shots given and that it is entered directly into the blood stream - bypassing the body's natural defense system.

    In 1999 even the AAP has gone on record recommending thimerosal be removed as a "cautionary" measure.

    And, obviously the executives at Merck were rightly concerned:

    "A memo from Merck & Co. shows that, nearly a decade before the first public disclosure, senior executives were concerned that infants were getting an elevated dose of mercury in vaccinations containing a widely used sterilizing agent."

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...home-headlines
     
  10. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Are you implying that you'd gladly trade smallpox and polio for reduced autism rates?
     
  11. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    >>Are you implying that you'd gladly trade smallpox and polio for reduced autism rates?
     
  12. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    No more input?
     
  13. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    The segment on the Today show addressed the mercury question. With the assumed reduction or elimination of the mercury preservative from the majority of vaccines since 1999, shouldn't that mean the reduction of autism cases? Is five years enough time to show a causal relationship?

    I myself think things are still too unclear to point to one reason more than another. I mean, one mother mentioned in the segment believes her child has autism because she ate a can of tuna every day during her pregnancy. That just seems a little too "old world" in reasoning for my taste.
     
  14. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Damn...I wanted to record that show!

    Guo, when my wife was expecting last year we were told by our doctor to limit fish to no more than once a week. I can't imagine what would happen to an unborn child if a pregnant mom ate tune every day!!! [​IMG]
     
  15. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    The report did note that recommendation. I'm not sure why this woman wasn't advised properly. It sounds like it's pretty conventional wisdom. Is it also related to mercury levels?
     
  16. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    FDA and EPA Advisories on Methyl Mercury and Fish Consumption:

    "The Food and Drug Administration advises that pregnant and nursing women, women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, and young children should avoid consuming fish that contain high levels of methyl mercury. Longer-lived predator fish, such as tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel, accumulate the highest levels of methyl mercury, a byproduct of industrial pollution that gets into the food chain. Consumption of these fish may pose a real danger to a fetus's developing nervous system as well as to small children.

    The Environmental Protection Agency also warns of the hazards of mercury contamination in noncommercial fish caught by family and friends. The agency strongly advises consumers to check with their state and local health departments regarding the safety of eating fish from local waters."
     
  17. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Owing to environmental pollution, certain fish -- predators such as salmon and tuna -- which naturally concentrate mercury in their body tissues, can pose a theoretically toxicity hazard to developing {e.g. foetus or infant}nervous tissues. There is probably not a very great hazard, but "better safe than sorry"!
    My statement on the thiomersal question in simply that people tend to exaggerate the extent to which it was used and was present when it was used; in any case a mercury-sulphur compound [organic or not] is more easily eliminated from the body. Besides, the scandinavian evidence clearly eliminates a causal relationship. Vaccinated children are no more likely to be autistic, and the converse permutations.
    Trying to find someone or something to blame for "autism" is the result of people being convinced by the prevailing culture that there is something "wrong" with these children. The fact is, however, that the cognitive differences involved are innate and are not affected by anything done after birth, unless it were a form of brain damage so severe as to render the child a vegetable! Autism is not a form of brain damage or anything like it. You can ask the mother of an autistic child and she will tell you, if she has any presence of mind at all, that she knew from the beginning that her child was different. Ask my mother, she'll tell you [I am currently considered by the medical profession to have "high-functional autism" or "Asperger's syndrome"].
     
  18. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    What about the children/adults with severe cases? Would you consider these people to not have autism (as it is defined) but simply a combination of other disorders?
     
  19. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    I wouldn't excatly call the study just published below a coincidence:


    Environmental mercury release, special education rates, and autism disorder: an ecological study of Texas

    Raymond F. Palmera, , , Steven Blanchardb, Zachary Steina, David Mandellc and Claudia Millera

    University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio Department of Family and Community Medicine, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900, USA
    bDepartment of Sociology, Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas, USA
    cUniversity of Pennsylvania Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, USA

    Accepted 1 November 2004. Available online 17 February 2005.

    Abstract
    The association between environmentally released mercury, special education and autism rates in Texas was investigated using data from the Texas Education Department and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. A Poisson regression analysis adjusted for school district population size, economic and demographic factors was used. There was a significant increase in the rates of special education students and autism rates associated with increases in environmentally released mercury. On average, for each 1000 lb of environmentally released mercury, there was a 43% increase in the rate of special education services and a 61% increase in the rate of autism. The association between environmentally released mercury and special education rates were fully mediated by increased autism rates. This ecological study suggests the need for further research regarding the association between environmentally released mercury and developmental disorders such as autism. These results have implications for policy planning and cost analysis.
     
  20. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I will come forth in the thread: I have a seriously autistic child, and I don't think for a second it has a drop to do with vaccinations; during High School, a local town was onset with an outbreak of Measles.. and I would much prefer vaccinations to that kind of risk.

    However, we've spent the last five years of his life working with doctors, diets, and others. There are numerous studies regarding autistic children with tons of different theories; however, at this point many (most) largely dismiss vaccinations.. this is because the correlary rate of those vaccinated vs. those who become autistic is statistically insignificant.. ie, you could make equal contention that eating bananas as a cause, there just isn't enough direct relation evidence.

    However, one of the thoughts that is becoming a prevailing one explains the fact that this seems to have basis in genetics and can be seen as early as a few months old - way before vaccinations. We knew something was "up" with our oldest son as early as 4 months, long before he had ever been vaccinated. At five months, our son had no interest in looking at people, seldom smiled, both was big into "tinkering". By 2, he would not deal with other children, disliked groups of people, and insisted on playing on his own (rejecting his parents prescence) to the point of being violent about it.

    One of the current theories involves previously used drugs by the parents and grandparents which creates a recessive genetic shift in the eggs of the mother, leading to the trait being passed on. This is related to some of the drugs dispensed in the 50s/60s for different pain relief, sedatives, as well as drugs like LSD. The small shift passed on to their children as a trait which they then passed on. There are several studies about this.

    As a social tilt, generationally, new afflictions have affected children; the problem of blue babies hit a high in the late thirties early forties and has never went back to that percentage level.

    In regards to mercury, while environmental factors play into some cases, not all.. hell, as a child, I was treated with Mecurochrome for most common cuts & abrasions or Iodine, both over the counter available (though no longer) even as an early child. The use of mecury based drugs as a sterilizer was at it's peak in the 1940s, and continued to the late seventies, yet with lesser output of autistic children or diagnosed autism.. that's also part of it, we are much more apt to diagnose autism, and in some cases, it is over-diagnosed. Part of the problem with using things like vaccinations is that it is a good way for parents to feel guilty that it was "their choice" that caused autism. It's a good way to create family blame and guilt over "you should have/you shouldn't have" issues... at the same time as neglecting those who spend all of their time working in the field.

    Anyway, if you want a real lengthy discussion of this, we can do it, there are those of us who handle support groups, deal with large organizations and manage children as well. But sometimes the look for a common "enemy" of why it occurs is just a matter of bad science and a need to find a villain rather then to work toward a solution. [​IMG]
     

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