Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"Autistic" Children Everywhere


Yesterday while waiting at a car dealership for an oil change I overheard a woman on the phone who was stating that she had two grandchildren under 3 with autism.

When she got off the phone another woman of the same age range approached the first and said that she too had a grandchild with autism. Since I have published in this area (see here) and had a child diagnosed with autism almost two decades ago, I listened to these conversations closely.

Autism diagnoses continue to increase despite the efforts of medical authorities to narrow the diagnostic criteria.

A few days ago I posted on the CDC's changing diagnostic criteria for autism which is aimed at better distinguishing children with the disorder http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2018/05/autism-and-environment-defining-away.html

The DSM-5, the American Psychological Association's diagnostic "bible" changed in 2013 with the intent to refine the diagnostic criteria so as to avoid over-diagnosing (https://www.autismspeaks.org/dsm-5/faq).

Yet, autism diagnoses continue to rise, as addressed in this article by Time discussing a 2018 report issued by the CDC:
Jamie Ducharme (April 27, 2018). This May Be Why Autism Diagnoses Are On the Rise, According to the CDC. Time, http://time.com/5255729/us-autism-rates/
The new report is available at the CDC site. Although published this year, the data crunched in this report are from 2014:
Baio J, Wiggins L, Christensen DL, et al. Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2014. MMWR Surveill Summ 2018;67(No. SS-6):1–23. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6706a1
The methodology for this study is summarized in this excerpt below:
A child is considered to meet the surveillance case definition for ASD if he or she displays behaviors, as described on one or more comprehensive evaluations completed by community-based professional providers, consistent with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) diagnostic criteria for autistic disorder; pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS, including atypical autism); or Asperger disorder. 
This report provides updated ASD prevalence estimates for children aged 8 years during the 2014 surveillance year, on the basis of DSM-IV-TR criteria, and describes characteristics of the population of children with ASD. 
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), which made considerable changes to ASD diagnostic criteria. The change in ASD diagnostic criteria might influence ADDM ASD prevalence estimates; therefore, most (85%) of the records used to determine prevalence estimates based on DSM-IV-TR criteria underwent additional review under a newly operationalized surveillance case definition for ASD consistent with the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. 
Children meeting this new surveillance case definition could qualify on the basis of one or both of the following criteria, as documented in abstracted comprehensive evaluations: 1) behaviors consistent with the DSM-5 diagnostic features; and/or 2) an ASD diagnosis, whether based on DSM-IV-TR or DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. Stratified comparisons of the number of children meeting either of these two case definitions also are reported.
NOTE This study focused on children who were 8 years old in 2014 and who had received a professional diagnosis of autism.  A professional diagnosis requires that the child was screened by a child psychiatrist or a developmental psychologist or a specialized physician specializing in child development.

Your average family pediatrician is not the source for a formal evaluation and diagnosis, although they are likely to refer children out to specialists if they have developmental concerns.

4 years have passed since 2014. The children born in 2011 were exposed to additional environmental contaminants from Fukushima.


I've already noted that the state of California experienced a significant increase in kids with autism diagnoses going into kindergarten  Majia's Blog: Sharp Increase in Autism Rate Among California ...

Here is the 2016  news report on rising incidents of autism in California's incoming school children:
Reese, Phillip. July 18 2016. Autism rates in California public schools jumped 7 percent in 2016. Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com/site-services/databases/article90300877.html#storylink=cpy
The increase was especially sharp among kindergartners, where autism cases grew by 17 percent last year [2015]. More than one of every 65 kindergartners in California public schools is classified as autistic
To reiterate, the article is reporting that autism cases grew 17% in kindergartners in 2015. 
 
Those kids would have been in their first year of life when exposed to Fukushima fallout. One significant way that children can be exposed is through ingestion of dairy products contaminated with radioactive iodine, which concentrates in milk and bioaccumulates in the thryroid (and perhaps pituitary glad as well), with potential developmental effects.
In 1962, Harold Knapp described how radioiodine from a single deposition in pasture-land bioaccumulates and biomagnifies, producing substantial and injurious radiation doses for children consuming milk.[i]
 
In 1983, Sternglass and Bell correlated radionuclides in milk with SAT scores across US states, finding a significant relationship:
Ernest J. Sternglass and Steven Bell. 1983. Fallout and SAT Scores: Evidence for Cognitive Damage during Early Infancy. The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 64, No. 8 (Apr., 1983), pp. 539-545. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20386800 Accessed: 12-10-2016 17:25 UTC
[exceroted] This fallout acts on the thyroid of the developing fetus in the mother's womb and during infancy, when the thyroid is known to control the development of cognitive functions. In this article we will present the most recent evidence sup porting this hypothesis, as contained in newly available state-by-state data on SAT scores and data collected by the U.S. Public Health Service on radioactive fission products in pasteurized milk (p. 539)
California children in 2011 were potentially exposed to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. Declassified NRC transcripts of conference calls that occurred on 17 March 2011 concerning Fukushima fallout reveal that the agency had projections of a 40 millisievert (annualized) dose to the thyroid from radioactive iodine for a one-year old child in California: 
‘The DITTRA result was four rem [40,000 microsieverts or 40 millisieverts] to the thyroid of a one year-old child based on one year integration of uptake.’[ii] 
There are other ways beyond damage to the thyroid that radiation can impact our children. 
 
I have particular concern for the impacts of subtle damage to DNA whose cummulative impact can reduce fertility and brain size, as demonstrated here by Mousseau and Moller:
The production and inter-generational transmission of germ-line de novo mutations and epigenetic effects upon radio-sensitive gene regions may lead to the symptoms grouped as autism. Research should investigate this potential relationship but few-to-no studies can be found.

Research on the biological effects of ionizing radiation needs to address real-world exposures. The chemical and radiological effects of ionizing radiation must be understood synergistically in relation to other environmental exposures. 
 
The dangers of non-ionizing radiation, for example, are just beginning to be studied and the results are highly politicized because of the powerful sway of cell phone industries and culture.

What other types of contaminants are increasing in the environment? 

More Americans have been exposed to fracking chemicals as fracking has taken off over the last 10 years and at least one study has linked their exposure to neurodevelopmental problems in children:
Webb, E., Moon, J., Dyrszka, L., et al. (2017). Neurodevelopmental and neurological effects of chemicals associated with unconventional oil and natural gas operations and their potential effects on infants and children. Reviews on Environmental Health, 33(1), pp. 3-29. Retrieved 16 May. 2018, from doi:10.1515/reveh-2017-0008 https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/reveh.ahead-of-print/reveh-2017-0008/reveh-2017-0008.xml?format=INT
Fracking chemicals represent a sub-set of chemicals but there are many others that I can also point to.

One researcher, Stephanie Seneff, using statistical data has argued that autism incidents increased after the introduction of glysophate or Round-Up, which has been scientifically scrutinized because of suspected endocrine effects (although conflict rages).

Linking a particular case of autism to particular environmental causes is very challenging given the complexity of modeling multiple exposures and the intrinsic vulnerabilities and resiliences of populations. Still, there are clear symptoms of biological discontinuities in human reproductive health. 

Today, the quality of men's sperm in developing countries has declined substantially, as reported here by Reuters Sperm count falling sharply in developed world, researchers say.
 
What does it mean that our children are displaying more troubled development and that our sperm quality is declining?
 
We are made of and from the earth. Everything we put into our environment - from radionuclides to social-cultural practices - is internalized in biological bodies, including our own.

In my opinion, autism and other neurological conditions afflicting adults will continue to increase in real incidents until we fully acknowledge that what is on the outside is what will be on the inside.

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1 comment:

  1. Out my west windows for about three years I have observed the boy next door. He used to run around their place but now he just walks. He used to wear a hoodie but not lately. My German shepherd who is very people friendly would bark at him though he usually barks only at cats and other dogs going by. I know from his mother that he has been diagnosed autistic. That would have been in Florida where they lived formerly.

    Since the number of vaccinations have increased over the last 60 years I still think vaccinations are the most likely culprit though radiation may be a factor also. Certainly the pharmaceuticals would have the power to blocked much investigation.

    I have never met the boy or even had a good look at his face. He clearly does not want to meet strangers. Apparently they like to avoid change so the move to Colorado would be quite a trauma.

    His mother is the positive parent. I see the 9 year old girl almost every day, but have had very little contact with the older brother who seems quite normal though. I have talked with the father who is a master carpenter but not a big socializer.

    I am sure there is a cure for this condition. There are two books I know of: The Puzzle of Autism and A Physicians Guide to Natural Health Products by James Howenstine, MD, that address autism in a positive fashion. It sounds like the intestines are involved in a big way.

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