Diagnostic Disparities

Mercury-Vaccine Link Disproven in Autism-Study

Source: 
Reuters
Date Published: 
October 19, 2009
Abstract: 

A new study provides more proof that childhood vaccines with mercury as a preservative -- no longer on the market -- did not cause autism. It found that the number of autism cases continued to rise through that period even though the preservative thimerosal -- nearly half of which is made of ethylmercury -- was removed from most vaccines in 2001.

CDC Finds Higher Incidence of Autism

Source: 
Chicago Tribune
Date Published: 
October 5, 2009
Abstract: 

About 1 in 100 8-year-old children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers who will be releasing details of their study later this year. The rate -- significantly higher than the government's 2007 estimate of 1 in 150.

California Dept of Health Publishes Study on Autism and Maternal/Paternal Age

Source: 
American Journal of Epidemiology
Date Published: 
October 5, 2009
Abstract: 

Reviewing a larger population than in any other study of its kind, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has found that as parents age their risk of giving birth to a child with autism increases modestly. Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the new CDPH study shows that for each 10-year increase in a mother’s age, the risk of autism increased by about 38 percent. For each 10-year increase in a father’s age, the risk of autism increased by about 22 percent.

For the First Time, A Census of Autistic Adults

Source: 
Time Magazine
Date Published: 
October 3, 2009
Abstract: 

On Sept. 22, England's National Health Service (NHS) released the first study of autism in the general adult population. The findings confirm the intuitive assumption: that ASD is just as common in adults as it is in children. Researchers at the University of Leicester, working with the NHS Information Center found that roughly 1 in 100 adults are on the spectrum — the same rate found for children in England, Japan, Canada and, for that matter, New Jersey.

Autism Rates Back MMR Safety Jab

Source: 
BBC News
Date Published: 
September 22, 2009
Abstract: 

The first analysis of adult autism rates revealed that despite popular perceptions, rates of autism are not increasing, with prevalence among adults in line with that among children. The findings also expel suggestions of a link between the MMR vaccine and the development of this condition and highlight the need for more specialized support for adults with autism.

Can Children with Autism Recover? If so, How?

Source: 
Neuropsychology Review, Helt, Kelley, et al
Date Published: 
2008
Year Published: 
2008

Although Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are generally assumed to be lifelong, we review evidence that between 3% and 25% of children reportedly lose their ASD diagnosis and enter the normal range of cognitive, adaptive and social skills. Predictors of recovery include relatively high intelligence, receptive language, verbal and motor imitation, and motor development, but not overall symptom severity. Earlier age of diagnosis and treatment, and a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified are also favorable signs. The presence of seizures, mental retardation and genetic syndromes are unfavorable signs, whereas head growth does not predict outcome. Controlled studies that report the most recovery came about after the use of behavioral techniques. Residual vulnerabilities affect higher-order communication and attention. Tics, depression and phobias are frequent residual co-morbidities after recovery. Possible mechanisms of recovery include: normalizing input by forcing attention outward or enriching the environment; promoting the reinforcement value of social stimuli; preventing interfering behaviors; mass practice of weak skills; reducing stress and stabilizing arousal. Improving nutrition and sleep quality is non-specifically beneficial.

Variation in Season of Birth in Singleton and Multiple Births Concordant for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Paediatric Pernatal Epidemiology, Lee, Newschaffer
Date Published: 
2008
Year Published: 
2008

Patterns of seasonal variation in births in some neuropsychiatric conditions have been found in previous research; however, no study to date has examined these disorders for seasonal variation in singletons and multiple births separately. This study aimed to determine whether the birth date distribution for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), including singletons and multiple births, differed from the general population. Two ASD case groups were studied: 907 singletons and 161 multiple births concordant for ASD. Two control groups were obtained from registered births of singletons and multiples. Results of the non-parametric time-series analyses, where day of birth was used, suggested there were three peaks in ASD singletons and ASD concordant multiple births. Roughly, the peaks were in April, June and October for singletons and about 2-4 weeks earlier in multiples. Results from multivariable Poisson regression, where month of birth was used, indicated that ASD concordant multiple births in males tended to be higher than expected in March, May and September (with borderline statistical significance), but were 87% less in December (P < 0.05), as compared with January. Overall, the patterns of relative risk estimates from Poisson regression are similar to findings from the non-parametric time-series approach, but are not exactly congruent. It is important to note that indications of seasonality may be sensitive to the selection of time cut-points and therefore an arbitrary binning of time can either mask existing trends or falsely indicate the presence of a trend. The presence of seasonal trends in ASD singletons and concordant multiple births suggests a role for non-heritable factors operating during the pre- or perinatal period, even among cases with a genetic susceptibility.

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in the Identification of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
American Journal of Public Health, Mandell, Wiggins, et al
Date Published: 
2008
Year Published: 
2008

Fifty-eight percent of children had a documented autism spectrum disorder. In adjusted analyses, children who were Black (odds ratio [OR] = 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.64, 0.96), Hispanic (OR = 0.76; CI = 0.56, 0.99), or of other race/ethnicity (OR = 0.65; CI = 0.43, 0.97) were less likely than were White children to have a documented ASD. This disparity persisted for Black children, regardless of IQ, and was concentrated for children of other ethnicities when IQ was lower than 70.

Significant racial/ethnic disparities exist in the recognition of ASD. For some children in some racial/ethnic groups, the presence of intellectual disability may affect professionals' further assessment of developmental delay. Our findings suggest the need for continued professional education related to the heterogeneity of the presentation of ASD.

Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde

Source: 
Archives of General Psychiatry, Schechter, Grether
Date Published: 
2008
Year Published: 
2008

California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) data do not show any recent decrease in autism in California despite the exclusion of more than trace levels of thimerosal from nearly all childhood vaccines. The DDS data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to thimerosal during childhood is a primary cause of autism.