In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association will publish a new edition of their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders called the DSM 5. (Remember the DSM IV in 1994? Ever since then, for the last 18 years, every time the autism rate went up, it was attributed on “broadening the definition” back in 1994.) The DSM 5 has a lot of people worried because they’re about to tighten the definition of autism and remove Asperger’s.
On August 18, 2012, the Jerusalem Post had a story about a non-profit organization called ICare4Autism that recently held an international conference there. HERE
One of the keynote speakers, Dr. Stephen Shore, talked about the DSM 5 changes and the state of autism in America. There was some surprising information.
“The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) will soon appear in a fifth edition and include new definitions for autism. “It will be autism spectrum, a continuum with a rating of one to three based on behavior. There will no longer be Asperger’s or pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) in the fifth edition. That’s unfortunate, as it’s a nice category to have. Now there will be no subcategories, which I regret.
“Some people with Asperger’s are opposed to this, because they think they will lose their identity and be classified with having a faulty communications disorder.
“’When I speak,’ he continued, ‘I ask my audience how many would hire someone with Asperger’s. Most people would. But if I say the person has problems with social communications, they say no, because it would ‘alienate customers.’ In any case, the DSM never was and is not meant to be a diagnostic tool for psychiatric conditions; it is a method for reimbursement for the health maintenance organizations,” insisted Shore, who delivered a keynote lecture at the conference.
“Some health insurance firms are behind the restructuring of the DSM V definitions, he maintained.”
Insurance companies are putting pressure on health officials? It’s not surprising to read this as more and more states are mandating insurance coverage for autism therapies. If kids suddenly WEREN’T AUTISTIC ANYMORE, they wouldn’t qualify for services.
And I’m sure everyone has heard the latest autism research—it’s now older dads that are to blame. As a man ages, there are more genetic mutations in his sperm—and voila—older dads equals defective kids. The recent study out of Iceland confirmed it. (It was kind of predictable that the blame would now go to the dads, since the refrigerator mom theory demonized the maternal side for years. Regardless if it’s the dads or the moms—it’s the parents fault! And now society will have to deal with the result.)
I saw the older dads study first hit the news sites in the UK and I predicted that it would quickly show up across the U.S., and it did. All the networks and major newspapers ran the story. Examples:
August 22, 2012, the Wall Street Journal, Autism Risk Rises With Fathers’ Age HERE
The WSJ even had a little video in which autism was referred to as a “mental illness” and a “mental malady.” We were told that “now there is absolute genetic proof” that “older fathers are probably more guilty than older mothers of passing on this mutation.”
August 22, 2012, the New York Times, Father’s Age Is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia HERE
This piece was by Benedict Carey, a name familiar to me since he’s spent years downplaying the impact of autism and trashing the claim that vaccines cause autism. It came as no surprise that he used this opportunity to once again deny any link. Here’s how he described the research:
“Dr. Stefansson and other experts said that an increase in the average age of fathers had most likely led to more cases of autism. Unlike other theories proposed to explain the increase, like vaccinations, it is backed by evidence that scientists agree is solid.”
So this new research is “backed by evidence” and of course, the vaccines and autism theory isn’t.
none of this is really new and few in the general public will pay any
attention. “Older dads” couldn’t possibly explain the worldwide epidemic of
autism and I can’t believe member of the press don’t know it too. How many wild
claims have we had in the past few years—all backed by research? There’s been
the older dads theory before, along with older moms, having siblings too close
together, too much TV watching, antidepressants during pregnancy, and living
too close to a freeway—to name only a few.
All of these studies are just a splash in the pan in the news. The story quickly dies. There is no follow-up because none of it makes any sense.
I posted comments on a number of the stories covering the older dads study. I noted that it’s just one more in a long line to studies, but what’s missing is the research that the late Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health, talked about on CBS News HERE in 2008. She said that the vaccine-autism question is still open. She said we need to look at the children who got sick—the ones who were born healthy and were developing normally until they suddenly and dramatically regressed into autism following routine vaccinations.
THE PROBLEM IS, NO ONE IS WILLING TO DO THAT. Instead, experts are happy to go to Iceland, look at a few dozen dads and blame mutating sperm.Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism. Subscribe to her news feed at AnneDachel.com.