Reaction to Autism Action: The “Unofficial Letter of Reprimand”
The Business of Baby by Jennifer Margulis from Scribner Books

Dachel Media Update: The Mystery of Autism

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Read Anne's commentary after the jump.

April 10, 2013, Youngstown (OH) News: Autism still shrouded in mystery

April 9, 2013, Northern Virginia Daily: Finding hope for children with autism

Youngstown (OH) News

"I have been writing letters to the editor of The Vindicator about autism for a decade now. My own son was diagnosed in 1998 and at that time the numbers were something like 1 in somewhere between 5,000/10,000 to now, 1 in 50 children. That just sounds so insane. How could doctors have missed all that autism many years ago? Where are the 1 in 50 adults with autism?"

Here's letter to the editor, titled "Autism still shrouded in mystery."  STILL?  Why are there never any answers?  This letter is good.  It even mentions vaccines and Brian Hooker.  I posted lots of comments and all the links are live.

Northern Virginia Daily

"April is Autism Awareness Month, and it seems to come at a good time. In late March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a startling update on the "epidemic" of autism, outlining just how many children in America are impacted.

"Shamsi Sadeghzadeh, director of outreach services at Grafton Integrated Health Network in Winchester, has been with the network for the past 25 years. Her background was in counseling, but she said she was offered an opportunity to work with children with autism.

"'I had just graduated, I had a masters,' she said, sitting in the Winchester office recently. 'But I asked, 'What is autism?' ... I had never heard of it.'

"At the time, Sadeghzadeh said she was told autism was rare, only occurring in one out of every 10,000 children. However, the CDC's latest report updated that statistic to one in every 50 children.

"Just like 25 years ago, she said people still ask the question 'Why?,' wanting to know the reason why their child had been placed in the autistic spectrum. She said she has no answer. The affliction is a neurological disorder, causing a child's brain to work differently than that of their peers. The result can range from a few to severe symptoms displayed in a child's social and intellectual abilities."

This lady has seen the dramatic increase in 25 years and is satisfied that she still can't tell us why.  I wonder if she's worried what the rate will be in another 25 years.


Eileen Nicole Simon

Anne, thank you for your surveillance of news reports on autism. My son is now 50 years old. He was diagnosed as autistic at age 4 in 1966, but with no recommendations for treatment. At age 5 in 1967 we enrolled him in public kindergarten, but he was dismissed a few weeks later because, we were told, public schools were not equipped to handle children who could not speak. Lobbying for special education began in our area, Massachusetts, in the early 1970s.

I am grateful that my son was admitted to the children’s unit, Ward 6, at the Mass Mental Health Center in the spring of 1968. There were a few autistic children on the unit, but most had other problems. It was like a miracle when my son suddenly began speaking normally just before he turned 6. By age 7 we thought he had recovered completely from his early developmental delays. Sadly at age 50 he still clearly has autism. He sticks out like a sore thumb, but now almost everywhere I go people come up to me and tell me about a family member or friend who has a child with autism.

The prevalence is clearly increasing. My son suffered trauma and anoxia at birth. I enrolled in a graduate program to gain the information I could not get from doctors. I soon (in the 1970s) found the reports of damage in brainstem auditory centers caused by oxygen insufficiency at birth. Auditory system impairment should have been recognized decades ago as a possible reason for language delay, and efforts made to avoid a lapse in respiration at birth.

Instead, clamping the umbilical cord immediately after birth became a new standard of care in the mid 1980s. This immediately stops oxygen delivery from the placenta, and no one seems to view this as a problem. The standard for resuscitation is to ventilate the newborn unopened lungs. At best this inflates lung tissue close to the airways.

Capillaries around the alveoli must be filled with blood before they can receive oxygen from the air. Oxygen is received by hemoglobin in the red blood cells, and by nature’s intent, blood is transferred from the placenta to the lungs during the first minutes after birth to open and activate the alveoli.

Clamping the umbilical cord is the first insult. The blood-brain barrier is impaired during even a brief period of anoxia. The impaired barrier then allows any unnatural substance in the circulation to enter the brain. I just returned from the IACC meeting, where once again I tried to get this across.

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