Saturday, November 21, 2009

Autism Rising in Chicago: Tribune Investigation Determines Autism Increase is Real

For the most part the article Autism treatments: Risky alternative therapies have little basis in science goes over old ground in attacking alternative autism therapies. At times it appears that the article is actually going to send current autism knowledge back to 1999 when Teresa Binstock outed the medical establishment for insisting that only genetic based autism research receive scarce funding dollars and that , by implication, environmental factors played no role in causing autism.

All of a sudden, almost out of the blue, the Tribune investigative report answers in the affirmative a question many have been asking by declaring that the startling rates of increase in autism over the past decade are real:

Chelation's popularity as a treatment for autism is driven by the unproven idea that the disorder is tied to accumulation of heavy metals in the body. Mercury, once common in vaccines as part of a preservative called thimerosal, is often pegged as the culprit. Yet the federal Institute of Medicine reported in 2004 that a review of dozens of studies had failed to show a link between vaccines, thimerosal and autism. Subsequent studies also found no connection. After thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines except for some flu shots, autism diagnoses continued to rise.

Congratulations to the Chicago Tribune for its investigation confirming that autism is indeed rising; that the increases in autism are indeed real. Since genetics can not explain these startling increases it should be clear, based on the Chicago Tribune's conclusion, that the autism increase is real, that environmental factors have to be involved in causing autism disorders. Maybe the Tribune can now do an investigative piece explaining why health authorities have discouraged environmentally based autism research over the past decade and more.

Maybe if health authorities pushed research of some of those potential environmental causes or triggers they could find cures and parents would not be left on their own trying to help their autistic children without the benefit of help from, and usually under attack by, scientific and health authorities.


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Stephanie said...

I still figure that autism is like every other mental disorder: it is a genetic disorder that is triggered by environmental causes. Most scientists already think this about schizophrenia, bipolar, etc. I'm not sure why autism is in some weird limbo where it is either 100% genetic or 100% environmental.

Marni Wachs said...

Nice catch on the vaccine-huggers trying to have it both ways.

Anonymous said...


I applaud you in referencing an article that exposes the quacks that prey on desperate parents.

Unknown said...

Anonymous 6:44, thank you for agreeing with me that the article confirms that the dramatic increases in autism are real.

farmwifetwo said...

I have to agree with Stephanie, it's a combination of genes and a trigger from outside or in the womb during pregnancy. Which means you'll never actually find the exact cause.

But I do dislike chelation. Mercury poisoning is Pink's Disease. You cannot pick and choose which parts of the disease fit autism and therefore call it Mercury poisoning.

NOT, that I do not agree that for some children vaccines cause more harm that good. Especially after various provinces handed out full dose H1N1 shots to kids, they came down with a high fever and the hospital's comment "give them tylenol".. tells you they haven't got a clue how safe or not they are. Had you or I OD's our kids they'd throw us in jail and take away our kids... but it's OK if a medical practitioner does it... that's different. (sarcasm)

We were at the Ped's last Tues... I hinted around about the vaccine... it was not recommended nor offered. Guess we won't be getting it.

"Tauro said his son Ruhin developed a fever the next day, and suffered a seizure four days later and was rushed to hospital. He said a pediatrician told him two days later that Ruhin's high fever was related to the flu shot and that the fever had caused the seizure.

He was told to give his son Tylenol and the boy is doing better now, he said"

Celeste Jean said...

seriously where is the research on environmental factors? too little has been done with that and parents are left to fight it out.

AutismNewsBeat said...

The Trib says "autism diagnoses continued to rise." This is not the same a saying "autism continues to rise." I'm sure you know the difference.

Anonymous said...


I do agree that there has been a rise in the cases of autism and I also agree that scientists should be searching for a cause, be it genetic, environmental or both. I also agree that the follow-on article in the Chicago Tribune should have mentioned ABA as the universally acknowledged, scientifically validated treatment for austim.

I sympathize with desperate parents that don't want to leave any stone unturned in an effort to treat their autistic children.

I have a big problem with people that peddle pseudo-scientific treatments using bogus claims and half baked theories.

Anonymous 6:44