Autism diagnoses have been increasing at incredible rates. Within the past two decades estimates of the numbers of persons diagnosed with autism has increased from 1 in 500 to 1 in 250 to 1 in 110 to 1 in 88. Those are startling numbers to this humble, unsophisticated mind. Yet to many in the autism research and Neurodiversity communities these numbers do not reflect a real increase. These smarter than the average bear types are sure that these incredible numbers are simply due to diagnostic definition changes, increased awareness and the existence of readily available of free treatments and services for people with autism. The less certain, less Neurodiversity adherent among the autism epidemic deniers will admit that, at best only 50% of these increases can be explained by the diagnostic change, social awareness and access to services factors. Assuming that these very smart people are right what does it mean for our understanding of what causes autism disorders?
Of what value are studies which purport to determine the possible role of any factor or event in causing autism based on autism rates over time if those studies lack the ability to determine whether increasing autism rates are real and if so to what extent?
Are all epidemiological autism studies flawed that rely on measuring changes in autism diagnoses over time? Will we have to content ourselves with discovering yet more gene, gene groups, gene expressions etc etc etc that MIGHT have SOME RELATION to autism? Is this where autism research stands today?