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    Why Do You Think Autism Rates Have Risen?
    Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
    A new story broke today that says autism rates have increased by 78% in the U.S. since 2002. Now, 1 in every 54 boys is diagnosed with the disorder.

    Why do you think we've seen this increase? Better diagnosis? Environmental factors? Something else?

    Read the story and share your opinion.

    (Note -- We know this can be a heated topic. Please remember to debate the topic, NOT attack the person.)
    brunosbud responded:
    When I questioned a woman about her family's diet and the role it may play in both her son's ADHD, she said, "You are so ignorant. Everyone knows ADHD is caused by genetics."

    Yeah, its those darn "genes".

    They'll turn against you in a heartbeat...
    An_241873 replied to brunosbud's response:
    Friend of mine has a teen daughter with ADHD. Took Red Dye #40 out of her diet and has less issues with focusing. I totally agree with diet helping certain disorders. My husband is affected by the same thing.

    Autism is "genetic" but at the same time environmental factors, not only for the mother when she is pregnant but also when the child is growing up, can have a huge impact on their development.
    JenPBDBP2 responded:
    I think it's primarily because we have better screening methods. If you notice, we're also seeing reduced rates of children with blanket diagnosis of 'retardation' because we're better able to classify illness.
    An_241873 replied to JenPBDBP2's response:
    Good point. Never thought of it that way.
    bj1208 responded:
    Hi - technology nowadays is far better than what it used to be and I think they are finding Autism is a growing concern. I can say, my oldest daughter, has 2 boys and they are both Autistic - it's sad as she would love to have another child but is fearful that if she has another boy he will be Autistic too.

    My cousin sometimes helps her friend, divorced mother of TRIPLET BOY and they each are Autistic (around 15 yrs old now) and each one has a different Autism.

    I truly don't know what is causing this as some officials believe it's where people live. If so, then why don't the girls develop Autism? Genes are another issues - doctors at a children's hospital told my daughter that her genes and her husband's genes are not compatible and that's why they have Autistic boys - my daughter has epileptic seizures and just found out 2 years ago she has MS - so there could be a number of factors involved - and pointing fingers is not getting resolution to the problems.

    As for my daughter, she may never know truly what has caused her 2 boys to be Autistic.

    bob249 responded:
    Many people are addicted to their soft drinks.

    Aluminum cans are made of ... uh ... aluminum

    Researchers figure the average consumption is 1 - 2 cans per day.

    Those kids and pregnant moms drinking 5 - 6 cans, or more, are greatly exceeding the "minimum daily requirement" for aluminum.
    brunosbud replied to An_241873's response:
    In nature, the way it works is, "Only the winner goes to dinner." In other words, females want to mate with the strongest males and vice-versa...

    With an obesity rate in this country of 1 in 3, am I the only one who thinks this might have an impact on the incidence of autism? Just look at the "preemie" rates compared to just 20 years ago. Just about every metropolitan hospital has a neonatal unit, now.

    People do not consider it a necessity to be in good health before having a baby. They may talk a good game and say all the right things but the reality is,

    Everybody is going to dinner...and, that aint "natural"...
    wahmed responded:
    Maybe it has something to do with their parents' extreme excessive use of their cell phones, ipods, computers,etc... that effects the child while in the womb. And plus children's early introduction to this things that maybe affects their brain. What does anybody else think?
    bbilbobaggins responded:
    Probably the same reason we have had tons of people (men, women, girls, not just boys) who never heard of high-functioning Autism or Aspergers until they got diagnosed (or self-diagnosed) in adulthood.
    jenkoelenko responded:
    Autism has been tenuously linked to the age of the mother suring the pregnancy. I'm not saying that's ALL of the reason, but I think there are reasons to believe this is true. The average age of when women have children is much older than it was even 50 years ago, (I'm not saying the is right or wrong, just fact) more women are holding off on having children for their career, status, etc. Granted, technology has improved as well, and we are able to diagnose problems that were impossible to diagnose even 10 years ago.
    seeit2 replied to JenPBDBP2's response:
    I think Jen is right, it's better diagnosis and screening. We got more specific about the terminology used to describe certain aspects of the disorder but continue to blanket it all under the name autism. I wonder if in the future some of these levels will be broken off into other-named disorders. Then we will see numbers magically fall off.

    When I was in grad school (in the 90s) there was some debate as to whether Asperger syndrome should be considered as part of the autism spectrum or it seems like every sensory integration issue is labeled as such.

    I also remember when mothers of children with autism were called "refrigerator moms". The theory was that mom was such a cold fish that she raised a child who was emotionally and socially out of touch. Isn't that nice? Apparently blaming mom is still very popular, just for different reasons now.
    icequeenaries responded:
    On one hand I believe that there are just better screening methods. On the other hand, however, I believe that doctors seem to jump the gun these days and overdiagnos as well as overmedicate. I think it is very possibly a combination better medicine and pressure on doctors to come up with answers for bad parenting (for example something like ADHD where there are many more people treated than those that truly need treatment).
    seeit2 replied to seeit2's response:
    Looks like they are getting closer to changing definitions:
    brunosbud replied to brunosbud's response:

    Findings from a just released study @ UC Davis examining the relationship between Obesity and Gestational Diabetes of expectant mothers and Autism.
    "...I was surprised at how strong the obesity effect was on new-born children and their cognitive development," said Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of Epidemiology and a researcher at the MIND Institute . "And we didn't just look at weight," she continued. "We looked at diabetes, and hypertension in mothers to see how those conditions affected their children. It was pretty significant..."

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