A person does not have to search far in order to be reassured by leading experts that the flood of children with all sorts of learning problems and developmental issues are nothing to worry about.
For years prominent news outlets and journals have downplayed the numbers, quoting experts for backup. Here are examples from over the last six years, including one from the BMJ just last month.
CNN, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: ‘Doctors are getting better at diagnosing autism… How much of that increase is a result of better tracking and how much of it is a result of an actual increase, we still don't know.’
U.S. News, Dr. Nancy Murphy, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Children with Disabilities: “The increases in these conditions may signify a greater awareness on the part of parents, teachers and health care professionals to identify children with disabilities and get them help.
“ ‘That could mean that kids that might have been dismissed as simply being "slow" or disobedient in the past may now be getting some extra help to realize their potential,’…”
New York Times, Dr. Stephen Blumberg, senior scientist, National Center for Health Statistics: ‘Our findings suggest that the increase in prevalence is due to improved recognition of autism spectrum disorders, as opposed to children with newly developed risks for them.’
Wall Street Journal, “The number of children diagnosed with autism has surged around the globe in the past two decades. But new research in Europe and the U.S. suggests much of the increase occurred on paper.”
Scientific American: “Many individuals diagnosed with autism may, in the past, have been misdiagnosed with other conditions, such as intellectual disability: As diagnoses of autism have risen, those of intellectual disability have decreased.”
British Medical Journal: “This study highlights the complexities involved in understanding changes in the reported prevalence of ASD that are likely to be multifactorial. It has provided evidence in Australia of changes in diagnostic preferences and a broadening of the spectrum and that differences in service requirements can influence prevalence estimates.”
Medpage Today: “The investigators offered some possible factors for the general increase in ADHD and autism prevalence such as: Advances in behavioral disorder classification, Efficacy of clinical and behavioral treatments for ADHD, Increase in services for children with developmental disabilities, Improvement in clinical, parental, and societal recognition of disorders.”
So while no health official can explain why so many children today have autism, no one is calling it a crisis.
By Anne Dachel
Back in April of this year USA Today published the story, Why are autism cases exploding, and what can be done? by Jerry Carino.
It was an interesting piece, unlike the vast majority of mainstream news reports that leave autism as a mystery or dismiss the numbers as merely“better diagnosing” of a condition that’s always been around.
Carino wrote: The statistics grab you by the collar.
In the early 1990s, the national diagnosis rate for autism was 1 in 10,000 children. In 2012 it was 1 in 68. In 2017 it’s 1 in 45.
That rate is even lower in New Jersey, at 1 in 41.
“When you look at those numbers, that’s [not] only a crisis, but it’s a significant issue for our society right now,” said Bret Vaks, executive director of Autism Family Services of New Jersey. ‘I’m not even certain most people are aware how significant it is’.”
Carino is off on the numbers. In 2012 it was 1 in 88. In 2014 it was one in 68 and again in 2016.
The one in 45 came from a study released in 2015, and the higher number was explained as being due to “changes in the order and wording of the survey questions.”
The one in 41 in New Jersey was announced back in 2014, so it’s not really current either.
Bret Vaks and Professor Samantha Herrick from Rutgers were the sources for this piece. Herrick is quite well known and has even spoken at a United Nations autism conference. She said she is constantly is faced with the question, “What’s causing this spike in autism?”
Herrick’s answer: “‘Science is not there yet. At this moment, the best we can render is it’s probably a combination of both genetic and environmental factors.
‘…there may be some sort of environmental antecedents that trigger it for that particular individual. But we don’t know what it is, which is the big bugaboo in our field.’
“The rogue theory blaming vaccines has been debunked, although Herrick still gets inquiries to that effect. …
“Despite the surge in cases, autism remains on the outskirts of public discourse.”
Herrick went on to deny that it’s just awareness.
“Another myth: The spike is caused by increased awareness about autism in the three decades since ‘Rainman’ introduced the condition to much of America.
‘There is no doubt that raised awareness is going to have influence of those types of numbers,’ Herrick said. ‘But most experts I’ve talked to believe it can’t be the sole cause of such a spike in numbers.’”
Herrick attributed the high rate in New Jersey to early and better screening.
Vaks was more critical of the lack of concern over autism. ‘It should be one of the biggest issues are leaders are talking about. We’ve made zero leaps and bounds because it’s not on their radar.’
Herrick and Vaks seem to be a little out of touch with reality. There’s a whole month dedicated to autism awareness. The world is lighting up itself up in blue for autism every April.
And for example, Hillary Clinton did speak out on autism, she just isn’t concerned about the rate.
Lots of people are talking about autism, only no one is worried, and it’s because no one will admit there is an autism epidemic going on. No U.S. health official or medicine association has ever said that there are actually more cases of autism.
If Vaks and Herrick really wanted to make the issue resonate among politicians and health officials, they should go looking for the same rate of autism among folks over 30 that we see in our children (and I mean adults with the same signs of classic autism we see everywhere in our children—not a college professor who doesn’t like to eat out).
If Vaks and Herrick really wanted to discover the environmental triggers for autism, they’d study the thirty percent of autistic children who experienced some type of regression, often quite severe regression. What environmental exposure preceded that loss of learned skills?
If Vaks and Herrick really wanted evidence that it’s not vaccines, they’d look at fully vaccinated and never vaccinated kids to see if they had same autism rate.
I seriously doubt that Rutgers University would allow any such research, nor do I think that Herrick would want to risk her professional reputation by investigating these topics.
It’s pretty clear that if no one in charge will even come out publicly and address autism as a crisis and an epidemic; it’s equally true that no one wants to seriously consider what environmental triggers might be involved.
As long as autism remains a medical curiosity we have all the time in the world to figure out, we don’t have to really look for the cause.
Consider this recent story from South Carolina, which received zero attention in the mainstream press:
May 12, 2017, Spectrum News: Alternative screen finds high autism prevalence in U.S. state
A new study in South Carolina has found a prevalence of 3.62 percent for autism, or roughly 1 in 28 children. Researchers presented the unpublished findings today at the 2017 International Meeting for Autism Research in San Francisco, California.
The study screened children born in 2004, the same birth year analyzed in the most recent prevalence estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For South Carolina, that estimate, released in 2014, reported a prevalence of 1 in 81 children1. The average prevalence for the United State is 1 in 68.
That jaw dropping statistic should have been big news and lots of questions should have been asked. Again, that didn’t happen. In fact, lead researcher Laura Carpenter from the University of South Carolina attributed this rate to better assessment.
‘I think this is probably getting pretty close to the true prevalence. This is probably going to make a lot of sense for anybody who is working in a school or autism clinic.’
It seems that researchers were still missing a lot of kids, but now they’re finally getting it right.
What this really tells us is that autism by the numbers will never be a crisis in America. We’ll continue to ask for awareness, early diagnosis, and services—NEVER ANSWERS.
Here’s the history of autism numbers in the United States.
2001 1:250, 2004 1:166, 2007 1:150, 2009 1:110, 2012 1:88, 2014 1:68. 2015 1:45, 2016 1: 68.
With every update of the autism rate, there was ALWAYS someone from the CDC right there to deny a real increase in autism: Julie Gerberding, Coleen Boyle, MarshalynYeargin-Allsop, Thomas Frieden.
"Serious health care concern" is the strongest language any official has used when talking about autism.
Asperger's or high functioning autism was added to the DSM in 1994, and it was removed in 2012, but it did not cause a change in the rate.
There’s more confusion
2013 One in every 36 of ALL children in MN has autism https://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2013/12/autism-highest-among-minneapolis-somali-and-white-children-u-study-finds
The study's data revealed that 1 in 32 Somali and 1 in 36 white children aged 7 to 9 were identified with autism in 2010 — numbers that are statistically indistinguishable, according to the researchers.
The Numbers are all over the board. One in 28, one in 68—the numbers do not matter when it comes to autism. We should all have learned that by now.
Three years ago, I interviewed Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a Senior Research Scientist at MIT about the explosion in the autism rate and the environmental toxins responsible. She linked the autism epidemic to mercury and aluminum in vaccines, glutamate in vaccines, and glyphosate, the active ingredient in the GMO herbicide, Roundup.
Recently I went back to Dr. Seneff to ask her about the ever-increasing and inconsistent autism numbers, the lack of concern from mainstream medicine or in our federal health care agencies, and her prediction that eventually autism will affect half of U.S. children. Here’s what she had to say.
Q: Dr. Seneff, since we talked last, the official autism numbers increased to one in 68 and then seemed to stabilize at 68, two years later. At the same time, we can find alarmingly higher rates in individual states like South Carolina, Utah, and Minnesota. Officials are at a lost to explain any of this. What do you think is happening?
A: “It’s very disconcerting this number of one in 28 from South Carolina, and I suspect that it’s a more accurate representation of what’s happening across the country than the one in 68 that we got as a report from the U.S. government, …which was stabilized. It had been growing exponentially for two decades, and all of a sudden, boom, it’s completely flat, which makes no sense.
“You don’t expect it to change that way because none of the factors that have been causing it have been fixed, in fact, I think that everything is continuing to get worse. So it simply does not make sense.
“I think that the CDC must have been doing something fishy with those numbers to keep that data flat for these past two years.”
(*It should be noted that there was a reversal of the stunning Utah numbers the next time rates were updated. Utah went from one in every 47 children to one in every 58, a nearly 20 percent drop. Dr. Judith Zimmerman filed a lawsuit alleging that the numbers had been falsified.)
A: “I predicted, looking at the exponential growth, it’s very easy to plot that on a linear scale, on a log linear scale, and you get a straight line, if it is exponential growth, and it’s exactly what you get with those data.
“You can extend that line into the future, and given that the numbers are for 12 year olds, then children born in 2032 would be the ones that would show up on the scale at 12 years later, 2044, and that’s where you get the point in which half the children, eighty percent of the boys born in 2032 will end up on the spectrum—diagnosed on the spectrum.
“And this, to me, is incredibly frightening. To think of one in five boys being born actually not having autism, is going to be—no one‘s going to want to risk having a child at that point, it seems to me. It’s going to be too terrifying.”
Q: Why do you think officials still refuse to acknowledge that there has actually been an increase in autism? Why is there no alarm over all the developmental disorders plaguing our children?
A: “I think what may be going on with regard to trying to hide the increase in autism, is to get these kids other diagnoses, to divert them off into things like ADHD or a social communication disorder—they have these new names now that they can call it and siphon it off. And so then we can hide the fact that autism is growing so fast.
“And in fact, when you look at something like ADHD, that has grown also exponentially over the past 20 years, and now it’s apparently one in six, which I find really, truly amazing: one in six of the kids being diagnosed with ADHD.
“And we have the tics, and we have the autoimmune diseases, all the allergies, the gluten intolerance, casein intolerance, we have the eczema—tremendous eczema these days— asthma, all these illnesses that these children are facing.
“And it’s not just the vaccines, I think, that are causing these. In fact, I think that the bigger problem is the food and the toxic chemicals in the food, particularly the glyphosate, which is pervasive in our food, which the government thinks is completely safe.
“Which is working synergistically, very, very effectively, with the vaccines, to cause harm.
“We simply have to, the government has to face this crisis. They should have done it many years ago, and if they don’t do it soon, then I think our country is just going to be history.”
Q: What are you most concerned about when it comes to what’s happening to the health of Americans?
A: “I think that probably the most critical component of -- the most critical cause of the epidemic in autism in America is glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Roundup, and Roundup is the herbicide that we all love because it’s completely non-toxic to humans.
“But this is simply not true.
“My research has gone deep and wide, and I’m absolutely convinced that Roundup is insidiously cumulatively toxic, and it is causing many, many problems, many health problems in our society, mostly related to autoimmune disease and immune dysfunction and neurological disorders. …
“Glyphosate is causing an epidemic in so many diseases which is the reason why we have a runaway health care system, with enormous health care costs we can’t meet.
“The U.S. government seems to be completely blind to the problem with glyphosate.
“However, I will say that the Canadian government is doing much better than our government is in terms of at least finding out the extent of the problem, with respect to glyphosate contamination in the food, and this is because of the relentless efforts of an activist in Canada called Tony Mitra.
“He has been pestering them for many years, and he’s finally gotten them to agree to test thousands of food samples for glyphosate contamination.
“Tony then has analyzed their results.
“The U.S. recently said, okay, we’re going to test—we’ve only tested, as far as I know—one food item, which is soy, and in that food item, we found ninety-one percent of the samples had glyphosate contamination…
“So basically, it’s all over the soy. …
“The U.S. government confirmed that … Like, it’s okay, it’s in the soy, who cares?
“It’s really incredible how much they refuse to acknowledge that there’s a problem.
“Canada tested a whole bunch of foods, they tested Canadian foods, U.S. foods, and foods imported from Europe, and from around the world—Mexico.
“…And what he found was that the United States and Canada stood out, having by far, having the highest level consistently of glyphosate in all the food samples that they tested compared to Europe and especially, surprisingly, compared to Mexico.
“Mexico had much, much lower levels across the board than the U.S. and Canada.
“There were high levels in wheat. They were in chick peas, in various cereals, cookies, all kinds of products—highly contaminated with glyphosate.
“Glyphosate causes breast cancer cells to grow when it’s present at levels of parts per trillion, in culture, parts per trillion. And I suspect that glyphosate is causing the breast cancer epidemic among pre-menopausal women.
“It’s just so many diseases, Alzheimer’s, autism, ADHD, various cancers….”
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.