passionless Droning about autism

The Fairytale of a Static Rate of Autism Part 5 – The Prevalence Jackpot Versus The Prevalence Hookup, Futilely Struggling To Making Sense Out of Static, And How Journey Autism Flavors Our Path Of Moving Forward

Posted on: April 17, 2013


Hello friends –

There used to be a poker room about twenty miles from my home; it sat above a run down greyhound racing track and smelled like an old shoe on the best day.  But they had poker.   They hosted an accumulating jackpot hand, usually worth a couple of thousand dollars, sometimes quite a lot more, which you could win if you got a royal flush in the current suit; i.e., if the suit was hearts, and you wound up with 10-J-Q-K-A hearts, you’d win the Jackpot.  This could lead to some unusual cost/reward analysis scenarios.

Let’s say you sit down to play and buy in for a hundred dollars.  Then, three hands later, you look at your two hole cards and you have 10-J hearts.  Not really a great hand, but if the board winds up showing Q-K-A hearts somewhere in the next five cards, you win fifteen thousand dollars (or whatever the Jackpot had accumulated to).   Almost everyone folds, but before you get a chance to see the next three cards for the two measly dollars you put up as a blind, an aggressive, serial over-better to your right raises to fifteen dollars.  You are in a tough spot, you know the guy bets like crazy anytime he thinks he can steal a pot, but you still are losing to anyone with a queen.   If you had 10-J spades, or clubs, or mixed, or (nearly) whatever else, this is easy; you dump your shitty cards.  But with your two royal heart cards, you *could* win the jackpot; your odds still totally suck, even if you were getting paid off a thousand to one you still didn’t have the ‘right’ odds to make the call, but if you inhabit a place where losing fifteen dollars won’t kill you, but winning fifteen thousand would definitely be a game changer, the magnitude of the potential winnings must be part of your decision making process.

I called the raise a few times, but never hit the jackpot.  Or even came close.

I keep coming back to the idea of incorporating the scale of potential outcomes when I think about the non event of the hilarious prevalence numbers that came out a while, one in fifty with ‘autism’.  Nobody outside of Journey Autism fucking cared and the responses were depressingly predictable; the media and the Internet skeptics went ‘full awareness’, and found nothing of any alarm in these numbers, the Internet vaccine crazies went ‘full autism’, and assumed the numbers were solely comprised of individuals who would need 24×7 assistance for forever.  It was all a big joke.  Haha.

I don’t know how large the real increase in autism is (the older parental age data tells us unambiguously that some of the increase is non-imaginary), but I do know that as our best efforts at figuring this thing out has left us skipping from one in two hundred and fifty, to one in a fifty in eight short years.  To my eye, this means a real increase of fifty percent (or more!) could easily be hiding in the static and we’d never know.  Most everyone doesn’t seem to care, that is the way of the Prevalence Hookup, quickly embracing whatever prevalence numbers come out, coupling until a set of newer, bigger, even more ‘greater awareness’ numbers come along.

But my thoughts continue to be formed by concept of a sort of missed jackpot opportunity when I see a sense of complacency about our ever growing autism population; it isn’t that I don’t believe that diagnostic changes and the watering down of what a diagnosis means in terms of life skills aren’t affecting rates, those factors are clearly at play, but the ramifications of just “some” of the increase being real seems like a big, big, big deal to me.  When your population of interest is every child, a small real increase means a lot of individual children are affected.  Sure, it is, possible that older parental age is the only recent development that is affecting rates upward, with all of the rest being diagnostics, but I find little comfort in this notion.  If the soft social scientists are wrong, even a little, and there is a true increase in incidence, we may come to regret the solace provided by our collective bobbleheading at the mantra of ‘greater awareness’, for it enabled us to waste a great amount of precious time.

The thing is, it doesn’t really cost us that fucking much to apply more resources to the unimportant, nagging question on the neurodevelopment of a generation of infants.  In 2006, Bush signed the ‘Combating Autism Act’, a bill included a billion of dollars for ‘research, surveillance, and treatment’.  That’s two hundred million a year.  Last year, The Avengers, a stupid and shitty movie, made over a billion dollars.  Now, I know there are other funding sources for research, surveillance, and treatment, but there were also a lot of other stupid movies.

I believe that this prioritization is the equivalent of folding 10-J hearts to a dinky four dollar raise; the knowledge we could gain from a relatively small outlay is worth a lot.  We shouldn’t be worrying about the cost, we should be considering the payoff; the question we are trying to understand, “are today’s infants neurobiologically different than infants of the last generation?” has a difficult to understate payoff. We shouldn’t be embracing reasons to stop playing, we should chomping at the bit to see the next three cards.  This is an easy call.

And yet, there was a collective yawn when the CDC announced 2%.

Funny enough, it was just a few years ago that the UK NHS study of adults found a prevalence of 1%, a finding which was heralded as remarkably strong evidence that autism rates are stable (at the time, 1% was the general value for US children.  Oh well.).  For some reason, the robustness of the NHS adult findings didn’t cause anyone to exclaim that there is a sort of epidemic-lite, what with US kids having autism as twice the rate as NHS adults.  It was a classic case of doublethink; US kids have autism at 2%, England adults have autism at 1%, and autism rates are stable.  (Believing that any of the numbers have validity might be closer to triplethink!)

A while ago I saw an interview with Fombonne on the SFARI site that contained the unsurprising byline: ‘Eric Fombonne says that the new CDC report does not necessarily mean that prevalence is increasing’.   [Note: This was BEFORE the 2% numbers were reported!]  Anyway, he made some interesting points about the messiness of the autism data showing how silly the state by state numbers are; Utah has four times the cases that Alabama does, and utilized different diagnostic methods.  In the text of the interview, he reveals Utah also had very low levels of MR (~ 13% instead of ~ 28%), AND had a creepy low male to female ratio.  Either there is something really weird going on in Utah, or the ‘numbers’ from Utah and Alabama are not measuring the same thing.  It could also be that the numbers are measuring some of the same thing, and there are a couple of weird things going on in Utah (heh).  But the bigger point should be that we shouldn’t expect to get a decent understanding of autism rates at a national level by clumping together Alabama numbers, Utah numbers, and whatever other numbers, shaking up them up, and averaging them out.  Maybe the headline ought to read, ‘Pretty much somewhere between half a percent, and two percent of children might have something a psychologist, or a doctor, or both, have something called autism, the manifestations and lifelong impact of which vary considerably individually and regionally’, or maybe ‘Autism Rates: Your guess is as good as ours!’.

I don’t trust any set of numbers more than an educated stab in the dark.

[Note: for a slightly different take on ADDM numbers, you can see this interview on SFARI, where Walter Zahorodny reports that detailed analysis of NJ data indicates a likely real increase in rates.  Doh!]

I began to wonder; if almost nobody really seems worried about an ‘epidemic lite’, if no almost no one is alarmed that the confidence intervals in our data could incorporate huge numbers of actual people, why am I so concerned?  Is my version of the precautionary principle overly cautious?  I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I think that part of the answer lies within my journey autism, watching my son’s challenges (and triumphs) unfold, and the knowledge that whatever we find about autism incidence, he will be reliant on other people for his survival for his entire life.  That is the gift autism has given him; it doesn’t mean he can’t be happy, it doesn’t mean he can’t experience love, but so far, we cannot detect that autism has provided him anything other than near debilitating OCD, an imperfect sense of dangerous situations, and a lifelong requirement of the kindness and capabilities of others.

I am filled with a pervasive and soul crushing sadness at the possibility of one ‘extra’ child having the same challenges because of changes we have collectively made to the environment, and that is the heart of the semantic dance over how much of the increase is real.  That is the Jackpot.

But, your mileage may vary.  I know that there are some parents and people out there who have challenges as heavy as my son’s, and they don’t share my sense of panic over the issue.  A lot of people credit their autism with benefits.  I won’t discount their experiences.  Part of the reason we don’t see eye to eye may be that we look at the same question, but see different risks, and different payoffs.

- pD

28 Responses to "The Fairytale of a Static Rate of Autism Part 5 – The Prevalence Jackpot Versus The Prevalence Hookup, Futilely Struggling To Making Sense Out of Static, And How Journey Autism Flavors Our Path Of Moving Forward"

One of the most innovative research funding approaches to a major health condition in this case Macular Degeneration is described by lead scientist and researcher Dr Peter Coffey here

http://www.thelondonproject.org/FAQ/?id=56

Basically Coffey was given a large sum of money and an outcome.That sum is being added to all the time.

In 5 years come up with a cure for Macular Degeneration

Research and manufacture to clinical trial level a cure to a devastating disease – that first part has been successful….and do it in a set time frame.

He put together a team of researchers , clinicians and most importantly engineers , manufacturers and partnership with a drug company Pfizer.

An all encompassing mini Lab – Bio /Drug company

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/healthreport/age-related-macular-degeneration/4564824#transcript

This isn’t research for research …this is research for outcome

a paradigm shift from say Universities and academia which are driven by publication. Coffey hasn’t published a paper during those 5 years the end goal is the most important cure not just sustaining a research,

Give $10 – 20 million to say California of Technology Paul Patterson laboratory , give him an outcome and well let him go …

Hi ASDResearchInitiative –

Neat stuff / great ideas in there. It’s a tough balance to strike; the pure research avenue does frequently provide unexpected findings, but on the other hand, not being driven by an arbitrary deadlines to publish X papers per Y timeframe can provide a more narrow focus. I love that the guy has been working for five years, instead of typesetting. Nice.

– pD

“collective bobbleheading at the mantra of ‘greater awareness’”
well put

re: “Sure, it is, possible that older parental age is the only recent development that is affecting rates upward, with all of the rest being diagnostics…”
Keep in mind that until about 50 years ago we didn’t have birth control and people kept having babies until wives reached menopause. We didn’t have a lot of reports of autism in the youngest siblings. There is more chance of syndromes involving one too many or one too few chromosomes, such as Downs.

Older parents is not a brand new phenomenon, although having the first baby at an older age was less likely to occur in the olden days.

Would it surprise you to know that Down’s births are actually going up, despite availability (and use) of technologies to ‘detect’ that difference in utero? It’s true.

Average family rates seem to have been largely steady since 1942, at least compared to a familiy where a woman got pregnant for twenty years. Still, I do kind of like the idea that it would be a common knowledge that the ninth kid was more likely to be ‘different’. Interesting idea.

– pD

Here’s something that I find interesting about this: The CDC has released data every two years for 8-year-olds starting with those born in 1992, then ’94, ’96, ’98, and most recently those born in 2000. During this period the prevalence increased from 1 in 150 to 1 in 88.

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

Now they come out with a phone survey showing a rate of 1 in 50. Why don’t they tell us the rate of children who were 8 years old in 2010, born in 2002? Wouldn’t that be the logical next step? Does it really take over two years to gather this data? Did it really have to take 4 years to come out with the data for children who were 8 years old in 2008?

Now vaccine-defending bloggers are claiming that the 1 in 50 rate shows that the rate of autism has continued to increase after thimerosal was decreased in many vaccines. Next we will have the change to DSM-V so the next survey will be comparing apples to oranges. It seems to me that the CDC is trying to muddy the waters, not shed light on the situation.

Since you don’t mind the “f” word, I will say that it is so fucking obvious that the rate of autism has increased A LOT. I’m over 50 years old. If we had held an autism walk when I was a kid hardly anyone would have shown up. We would have asked, “What’s autism?” These days thousands of people show up for autism walks, because so many have close family members with autism. I know people who have worked in institutions for the developmentally disabled for many years, who say that their clients used to primarily be CP and Downs, and hardly any with autism. The school statistics, the regional center statistics, the UC Davis studies, the 1987 peer-reviewed study “A Prevalence Study of Pervasive Developmental Disorders in North Dakota” which looked at all 180,000 children under the age of 18, and found an autism rate of 3.3 per 10,000 – and then followed the kids for 12 years and found they had only missed one autism diagnosis – all of these confirm a huge increase. The idea that in the old days autistic children simply disappeared unnoticed into institutions doesn’t make sense. We knew when our friends and neighbors and classmates had babies. Are we to believe that we had conversations like this?:
A: How’s the baby?? :)
B: Never mind.
And then we just forgot about them?

The huge increase is obvious, it’s so obvious that one can only conclude our health authorities are bullshitting, from which one can only conclude that they have something to hide: they know that vaccines cause autism. Maybe they hoped that reducing the level of thimerosal would make enough difference so that if they just kept futzing around for a few years the thimerosal-induced increase would be behind us with everyone too snowed to notice or remember. But it’s not just the thimerosal – it’s the unusual, unprecedented overstimulation of young developing immune systems with not just thimerosal but also aluminum adjuvants and more.

I hate the conspiracy angle, mainly because I honestly do not think that you could gather enough people that were smart enough to understand the gambit, and skeevy enough to try to pull it off, with nobody telling. It requires too much competence and way too much knowledge.

Consider some of the animal experiments that I have described on this site. Some are done by people who just got their PhDs in neuroimmunology, or whatever. They are working their ass off to understand the underlying mechanisms of action in early life immune activation. They are using rats, which breed fast, and have brains, but are a lot different than people. I don’t think there is a group of hidden people out there that know that much more about those interactions, but are hiding their knowledge to protect the vaccination program. It mandates so many people being ahead of the curve, and not telling in the ‘golden age’ of social media where ten percent of everyone tries to tell the entire world what they ate for breakfast.

In order for a group of people to be clever enough to know, and be hiding, evidence that vaccines cause autism in that fashion, we’d need a ton of scientists, smart ones, and their technicians, and all of their significant others, to not say anything. None of them. If our government was capable of this level of competence, we’d have a lot of problems solved by now.

I tend to prefer an explanation that invokes the principle of incompetence, and perhaps, in some instances, overly optimistic bandstanding on the part of some.

I do think rates of *something* are up, but we aren’t never clever enough to understand it.

Take this article for example:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/21/us-vaccines-narcolepsy-specialreport-idUSBRE92K06620130321

Finnish scientist “Outi Vaarala previously worked in research on autoimmune diseases and diabetes. Since crossing over into the field of vaccinology, she says she has found herself harangued in emails and phone calls by people on one side accusing her of undermining trust in vaccines, or on the other begging her to join an anti-vaccine crusade.

“‘There’s not the kind of open discussion we used to have. You’re afraid you will lose your whole career if you say something bad,’ says Vaarala. ‘When you’re dealing with vaccine it suddenly becomes like working in politics, or religion.'”

This article blames these fears on Dr. Wakefield, instead of on those who prosecuted him, Walker-Smith, and Murch.

I have read these kinds of things elsewhere as well. Many scientists and doctors are afraid of speaking out, and can’t get funding for doing certain research.

I was never a big govt conspiracy theorist, but there is a lot going on here which seems very fishy, such as Poul Thorsen not being extradited. Something is rotten, and not just in Denmark.

One factor in Utah’s high autism rate may be the high levels of environmental mercury, possibly a result of mining.

http://www.sltrib.com/politics/51849652-90/brown-county-fish-lake.html.csp

http://www.mercury.utah.gov

At the November 29, 2012 Congressional hearing on autism, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) asked about the disparities in autism rates in different states, saying that Utah’s rate is 1 in 47. He asked the govt agency folks whether they are studying reasons for these disparities? Dr. Boyle talked about differences in how states identify autism, but then was unable to provide any firm basis for believing that this accounts for the disparities – basically it was an assumption. 02:10:57

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/309672-1

I’d agree it was an assumption because you have no way of knowing if some beat up psychiatrist three years from retiring in Utah really got what autism was when he did or didn’t give some kid a diagnosis. I don’t know about you, but we got diagnosis for our son, one at 3 by the state, and one at 6 by the education system. The education system wouldn’t take the states diagnosis (it meant starting to provide services). What this tells me is that because rates are driven regionally, and by people with different skills or motives, you cannot aggregate them upwards with any certainty.

Unfortunately, it is kind of hard to gather this data, because you need to have it standardized at a local and state level. We aren’t too good at that kind of thing, it seems.

If mercury were responsible, don’t you think the level of intellectual disability would have been higher than usual, instead of lower? I’m no fan of mercury per se, but I am a big fan of Alabama being one quarter backward and very likely to miss some stuff. Have you ever tried to goto Panama City? Sheesh.

I think that what frustrated that congressman is that the “experts” keep making these declarations which have no basis in actual research. We keep hearing “better diagnosis” as the reason for increase over time, and the reason for differences between different areas. Certainly it’s possible that diagnosis is better in some areas, or just different. But environmental factors should at least be investigated. And if they are going to state the opinion that the difference is based on better diagnosis in one state than in another that should be based on more than assumption/speculation/supposition, especially when it is stated with some certainty, and with a seeming lack of inquisitiveness to find out more, no stated plan of action to figure out why.

Mercury has been linked with autism. I don’t know whether it has been linked with non-autism-related forms of intellectual disability.

I share some of your concerns; but I think that one problem is that studying ‘environmental factors’ is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. And science is plodding and incremental, for a variety of reasons. I don’t think anyone is an expert, because being one is supposed to mean that your statements have predictive value, and most of our numbers don’t have that.

“and a lifelong requirement of the kindness and capabilities of others.”

…exactly and what are the odds on that?
I think what’s happening, in the Uk at least, with the increasingly harsh attitude to the unemployed in the MSM, especially those who would have previously had disabilities recognised as long term impediments to finding and keeping work, along with cuts to adult social care etc is an indication that someone’s looked at the numbers for the future and said no way can we afford this.
Unfortunately you can’t budget for kindness anyway…they should at least stop doing such a good job of fomenting the opposite >-<
If the research doesn't get done it's cos they don't want the answers. They'll come out anyway…if only sideways through cancer research/diabetes or some such, as answers to others' questions..
Did you see the suramin thing, normalising all sorts of parameters alongside behaviour of autism model mice? Used to treat sleeping sickness…ding! Happy to see that as of my sons hypersomniac weeks after sinusitis last autumn, compulsions/automatisms a big feature in the few waking hours. More clues…

Pregnant women need to be around people who can provide them with an immune shield (i.e family)so as to limit triggering immune system and possible rejection of foetus; probably true for postnatal year or so too for best immune driven (glia etc) development.
I think that might be one of the key changes we've had, through working while pregnant, then child care and vaccinations.

My husband plays poker up to 4 nights a week, guys say "she must really want you out of the house!!!" He'd play 7 if he could and go to sleep replaying the hands :-)

Hi happyhorse!

exactly and what are the odds on that?

Yeah, you pretty much nailed it there, didn’t you.

Did you see the suramin thing, normalising all sorts of parameters alongside behaviour of autism model mice?

YES! Super cool! I mean they did it all, initiated the problem, measured the problem, then solved the problem. If only their solution didn’t kill people. None the less, that is a very cool study.

I think that might be one of the key changes we’ve had, through working while pregnant, then child care and vaccinations.

They are all big changes, and I doubt we are nearly clever enough to understand what they mean.

I am very jealous of your husband! I haven’t played since January, but I was on a heater.

– pD

I had to ask Jose “What’s a heater” but i’m none the wiser as poker is his third language and with a Cornish accent at that! he grew up playing super complex Spanish card games,completely different argot … said he thought it might be when you get so you just can’t fold??

http://www.plosntds.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pntd.0001017

They are looking at safer versions of suramin re the sleeping sickness, working out how it actually does what it does and seeing if there’s a safer way. Whether that would have the same effects in the model mice, who knows. i was so freaked to see this connection come up cos of looking for an explanation for my sons hypersomnia and compulsions and links to infection.

http://www.pnas.org/content/110/13/5169.abstract

http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/nature06668

These two are interesting re maternal stress and outcomes metabolic and otherwise.

Hi Pd, as always, really interesting thoughts.
Hi Twyla!
Re is something really happening, a while ago I decided that if
A autism is inflammation and
B something is causing an increase in inflammation in this generation, as opposed to we are noticing nerdy types in a way we haven’t before, then
other autoimmune problems should be increasing also..
And may be easier to track. Its harder for example to say that increases in Type 1 diabetes are caused by “better diagnosing”, given that non treatment= death.
The reports of increasing rates in areas such as asthma and type 1 diabetes seem to be met with a similar yawn to that of the increase in autism.
Don’t know where it is , but did read a study that compared celiac disease in the past (through looking at bowel biopsies, I think ???) and now, and came to the conclusion there was an actual change in the prevalence of celiac disease now. Will try and find it and give more exact info if anyone is interested.
I think that unfortunately what we are seeing is best described as the phenomena of “how to boil a frog” ( Slowly, heating up the water gradually so it doesn’t notice what is going on…)

And I think the idea that we may have been changing the immune system of a generation is way too scary for people to choose to consider.
Treating acute diseases is easy; the possibility that we have unintentionally created a generation of people who have an increased rate of immune dysfunction is put in the “too hard” box and best ignored.

Hi Hera –

Well, there is an increase in immune mediated disorders; there is a lot of resistance to the idea of autism as an condition where the immune system can play a part in pathology in a lot of areas, mainly due to the vaccine question, I imagine. That’s too bad, in my opinion, while the vaccine issue casts a wide net, so do a lot of our other cultural experiments that are also *probably* having an effect.

Asthma is up.
Food allergies are up.
MS is up.
Diabetes is up.
Celiac is up.

Regarding celiac, there was a test of a ton of banked army blood indicating a true increase in incidence. It looks like the age at which wheat is introduced to an infant can have an effect; in Sweden they have a population cohort with a 3% celiac rate (!!!!) , they correspond to a time when the government changed the recommendation of age for getting wheat.

I don’t think that increased inflammation is the *only* pathway to increased autism risk, but it is very likely an important one. But this made the metabolic syndrome paper in pediatrics so fatal to the notion of a static rate of autism, with more data from the Finish study with 1.2M pregnant moms showing a dose relationship between CRP and increased risk.

And I think the idea that we may have been changing the immune system of a generation is way too scary for people to choose to consider.

It is gaining traction, usually within the concept of the hygiene hypothesis, which is fine with me, I kind of like it.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2704247/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12923372

‘And may be easier to track. Its harder for example to say that increases in Type 1 diabetes are caused by “better diagnosing”, given that non treatment= death.’
;-) exactly!
Hi,
this is what I thought too, mostly it was the rise in the rates of asthma/eczema/atopy. Also coeliac disease, see above links (don’t know if that’s the same thing you’re thinking of?)… the second one a bit of a surprise! There was a gold mine of data from air force recruits around the time of some epidemic or other in the 50s, samples happened to be accidentally stored in perfect conditions. the guy studying it was called Murray i think…
I also remember reading a study where deficiency in niacin was found to be an exacerbating factor in reactions to grains – it ws in diabetic mice -poor mice again!- I think. Maybe the nicotinic acid receptor activation by smoking protects somehow and that would explain the negative correlation with coeliac?

Also apparently giving acetaminophen at the time of vaccination is a no-no as it interferes with the production of antibodies…part of me thinks that might be no bad thing if auto-antibodies were to be part of the various problems, along the lines of PANDAS?
So many things have changed though, we’re basically all n=1 and observation, see what helps, what doesn’t. But i’m optimistic as there is so much interesting research being done. We’ve just got to hang on!

https://www.stopcallingitautism.org/recentresearch.html

I don’t know if anybody has seen/heard of this?
I’m betting that UCLA research grant is a sign that the race is on. As in there’s enough of a theoretical basis to start treating, someone’s got to get the patents first… without any mention of where this increase in immune anomalies might have come from, of course. Not a conspiracy theory, just a massive elephant in the room ;-),
Anyone wanting to try DIY, the below is afaik non-toxic, also inhibits HSV replication, H Pylori too through interfering with it’s adhesion mechanism I believe.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21570441

Hi pD

Thought you might like perusing this …

Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Probiotic Treatment in a Mouse Model of an ASD Risk Factor PH Patterson

https://imfar.confex.com/imfar/2013/webprogram/Paper13367.html

Hi pD a very exciting paper has been released at Nature – Translational Psych …

http://asdresearchinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/maternal-antibodies-social-behavior-and-autism/

http://asdresearchinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/maternal-antibodies-social-behavior-and-autism-ii-mind-institute/

It looks exceedingly solid and goes to 23% of all ASD cases. WOW.

That makes gene studies pale into some sort of insignificance and goes to environment and a real rise in prevalence one thinks.

Hi ResearchInitiative –

I really need to read up and write something about the maternal antibody work. My wife saw video of the 2008 monkeys at a conference and returned literally shaken. “they made autistic monkeys”. Really doesn’t seem too fair to the monkeys. :(

The wrinkle that has been shaking around in my head is how this affects the ‘heritability’ estimates of autism; we can see pretty plainly that the search for genes hasn’t had a lot of luck. If there was something about *the mother* that would confer risk, it would show up as increased heritability. Also, *if* they can generate antibody screenings from saved blood, we could gain insight into the incidence question; i.e., grab a bunch of stuff from mothers from different year cohorts and see if there is a change in how many of them harbor the antibodies.

I’ve also got some (even more) speculative ideas regarding how a spike in prevelance could be achieved, but I don’t have the time for it right now. I’ve got to get some work done before Sharknado!

pD welcome any insights you have on this … what I’d like to untangle is the longitudinal development of a high risk birth cohort (ASD) within it are immune dysfunction, epilepsy , gastrointestinal disease, autoimmune disease … some cases ala Paul Patterson triggered specifically by viral infection (Influenza).

Also see CSF http://asdresearchinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/cerebrospinal-fluid-enlarged-brain-and-autism-biomarker-mind-institute/

…enlarged brains / regression phenotype ?

Hi PD, hope all is going well for you. I love reading your stuff, and keep hoping for another entry, but also know how busy life can get raising a kid with special needs.
And thanks for the celiac blood link.
By the way, I do agree that
Some autism is unrelated to inflammation; fragile X syndrome, agenesis of the corpus callosum, for example.
While I suspect that vaccine injury increasing inflammation is a primary cause of the current situation, I agree that there may be other factors playing a role also. Herbicide use on our food , for example. One of the aspects of GMO round up ready wheat for example, that is often not mentioned is that it is specifically designed to be able to survive more herbicide application and still be able to grow to make it to market.
I live in farm country, and watch the pesticide /herbicide crop dusters spray the fields every year. The surrounding land with large scale long term pesticide and herbicide residue will grow little but particularly hardy weeds unless you import fresh earth. At the end of each harvest, the old practice was to burn the fields before starting the next crop. Due to anti smog laws, farmers will often now spray herbicide to kill off the remaining seeds before planting their new crop.
What they plant next, whether gmo or conventional, has to be able to survive the herbicides, and of course that means that most conventional food has more herbicide/pesticide residue than our ancestors used to eat.
Does this have an effect? Have also been wondering whether eating more herbicides might effect the long term bacteria balance in the gut…Just speculation, of course.

Hi Hera –

Thanks for the kind words.

*Does this have an effect?*

Tough to know; I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the amount of pesticide taken in, alongside the individual differences in getting it back out could be having an effect on cognition. Did you see the Pediatrics article on urinary pesticide metabolites and adhd a while ago? Terrifying.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/05/17/peds.2009-3058.abstract

I tend to think that some of the hyperbole on the GMO stuff is overblown, but on the other hand, the idea that we really understand the low level implications of these moves is equally overblown, and we (in the US) aren’t really getting a say in whether or not our foods are GMO, at least unless you are really sticking away from processed foods. Even then. . .

I started work on another post, but the littlest baby started moving and then football season started and then, and then and then. . . . .

Long time no post! Hope all is well.

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