Who Are These Radical Scientists
Independent, decentralized biomedical research has come of age. Also sometimes called DIYbio, biohacking, or community biology, depending on whom you ask, open research is today a global movement with thousands of members, from scientists with advanced degrees to middle-grade students. Their motivations and interests vary across a wide spectrum, but transparency and accessibility are key to the ethos of the movement. Teams are agile, focused on shoestring-budget R&D, and aim to disrupt business as usual in the ivory towers of the scientific establishment.
Ethics oversight is critical to ensuring that research is conducted responsibly, even by biohackers.
Initiatives developed within the community, such as Open Insulin, which hopes to engineer processes for affordable, small-batch insulin production, “Slybera,” a provocative attempt to reverse engineer a $1 million dollar gene therapy, and the hundreds of projects posted on the collaboration platform Just One Giant Lab during the pandemic, all have one thing in common: to pursue testing in humans, they need an ethics oversight mechanism.
These groups, most of which operate collaboratively in community labs, homes, and online, recognize that some sort of oversight or guidance is usefuland that it’s the right thing to do.
Will Diagnoses Of Autism Continue To Increase
There is no way to know for sure if autism rates will continue to rise. As diagnostic criteria evolve, it could lead to either more or fewer children being qualified for an autism diagnosis.
Some experts, for example, expected a decline in autism diagnoses once Asperger’s syndrome and PDD-NOS were eliminated as catch-all options. Others expected an increase as awareness and services improve. For now, the number and rate of children diagnosed with autism continue to rise.
The Claim: Autism Has Increased By 30000% In 50 Years Is Linked To Vaccines
As states advance in their distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, Americans have continued to discuss what risks;could be associated with gaining protection against the virus. One common belief espoused by parents and public figures who are against vaccination is that vaccines cause autism spectrum disorder, despite several studies showing no correlation between childhood vaccination and autism diagnoses.
A may represent a similar view. The post claims that autism “increased 30,000% in 50 years” and suggests there is a link between injections;and this statistic.;Originally posted on April 3, 2020, the post has accrued;roughly 1,500 shares.;
In a ;on the post, the author linked;vaccines to the “injections”;he mentions, suggesting he made the post, “Because they are trying to make us all take a shot of their NEW ‘Vaccine’!” The post’s comment functionality has since been turned off.
USA TODAY reached out to the poster for comment.
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Why Is Autism So Prevalent Now
One of the things that has proven most shocking about the epidemic of Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses in the United States has been the suddenness with which it swept the country. In the span of a single generation, from 1985 to 2015, cases skyrocketed from 1 in every 2500 to 1 in every 65. Just from 1993 to 2003, the numbers jumped by 657 percent, according to the Scientific American.
For families whose lives have been affected by ASD to the medical professionals and applied behavior analysts who treat the condition, the explosion has been shocking, particularly because we still have no real understanding of the cause behind it.
The desperate search for answers has lead people down some strange and occasionally harmful roads. The suggestion from one small and later discredited study in England that MMR vaccinations given in childhood were a possible cause for the skyrocketing numbers was enough to set off the whole anti-vaxxer movement a trend of withholding common vaccinations from children that has contributed to upticks in whooping cough and measles outbreaks in the U.S. and U.K.without any decrease in ASD diagnoses.
So the one question on everyones mind is why does autism a disorder that was first described in the 1940s seem to be so common now?
Why Is Autism Increasing Dramatically
Let us start by reiterating some facts about autism.
- Multiple large-scale studies have established, with adequate proof, that vaccines do not cause autism.
- Autism does not develop due to bad parenting choices.
- Autistic spectrum disorders are not contagious.
Although the number of children diagnosed with autism has steadily increased over the last few years, this is not because more children develop autism now than before.
Experts cite the following reasons to explain the rise in autism cases in recent years.
ASD includes a broad spectrum of disorders with following symptoms, thus accommodating more kids under the title of autism.
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Cdc Estimate On Autism Prevalence Increases By Nearly 10 Percent To 1 In 54 Children In The Us
Important progress made in key indicators: For the first time, prevalence rates are the same for black and white children, and significant progress made toward number of children receiving developmental screening by age 3
NEW YORK ;-;The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released today its biennial update;of autisms estimated prevalence among the nations children, based on an analysis of 2016 medical and/or school records of 8-year-olds from 11 monitoring sites across the United States. The new report demonstrates real progress in early screening and diagnosis, the result of more than a decade of awareness and advocacy work by Autism Speaks and other organizations.
The report reflects a continued increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder in the United States. Importantly, for the first time the CDC found no difference in the prevalence rates between black and white children, indicating that gaps in access to screening and diagnosis may be closing.
Key findings include:
The CDC report was released in advance of Aprils World Autism Month and World Autism Awareness Day , which Autism Speaks dedicates to increasing global understanding and acceptance of people with autism. To engage in this effort to create a kinder, more inclusive world, visit;www.autismspeaks.org/kindness.;
Apparent New Rise In Autism May Not Reflect True Prevalence
by Peter Hess;/;26 September 2019
New statistics on autism prevalence in the United States suggest a dramatic rise in the number of children with the condition. But it is unlikely that these numbers reflect a true rise in prevalence, experts say.
Autism prevalence in the U.S. rose from 1 in 91 children in 2009 to 1 in 40 in 2017, according to survey results published today in Pediatrics1. The condition is most often diagnosed in white children, those living in urban settings and those who have any government-funded insurance, the study also shows.
The results are based on telephone or in-person interviews with the parents of 88,530 children aged 3 to 17 years, collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of its National Health Interview Survey. The numbers are higher than the 1-in-59 prevalence that the CDC reported last year; that study analyzed health and education records from 2014 for children in 11 states generally considered to be more reliable than parent surveys.
A sizable portion of the increase is probably due to rising awareness of the condition and improved systems for identifying autistic children, says lead investigator Benjamin Zablotsky, health statistician at the CDC.
The way the survey phrases and places a question about autism asking parents whether a healthcare professional has ever told them their child has autism may also affect prevalence estimates, he says2.
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Changes In Reporting Practices
The CDC’s report on autism statistics is based on health and school records for 8-year-old children who live in select counties across the United States. The researchers are part of the;Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, which the CDC set up in 2000 to estimate autism prevalence.
Clinicians;scanned the school records for signs of autism features, such as social problems or repetitive behaviors. They use data from 8-year-olds because most children are enrolled in school and have had routine health assessments by that age. However, the data is not based on whether children have been given an actual diagnosis of ASD.
Up until 1990, autism was not included in legislation aimed at guaranteeing an education to individuals with disabilities. In 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act added autism to its list of conditions covered under the act. The new law also added transition services and assistive technologies to its requirements. Autism had never been tracked as an educational statistic before 1990. Since 1990, the incidence of autism in schools has risen dramatically.
Another set of prevalence estimates published in Pediatrics in 2019 found that the prevalence of autism in the United States rose from 1 in 91 children in 2009 to 1 in 40 in 2017. The results were based on telephone or in-person interviews with the parents of 88,530 children aged 3 to 17 years, collected by the CDC as part of its;National Health Interview Survey.
Zeroing In On Environmental Triggers
A variety of environmental triggers is under investigation as a cause or contributing factor to the development of ASD, especially in a genetically vulnerable child.
Exposure to pesticides during pregnancy may boost risk. In a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers compared 465 children diagnosed with ASD with nearly 7,000 children without the diagnosis, noting whether the mothers lived near agricultural areas using pesticides.
The risk of having ASD increased with the poundage of pesticides applied and with the proximity of the women’s homes to the fields.
Besides pesticide exposure, exposure to organic pollutants that have built up in the environment are another area of concern, says Pessah of UC Davis. For instance, polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, substances previously found in electrical equipment, fluorescent lighting and other products, are no longer produced in the U.S. but linger in the environment, he says. “Particular types of PCBs are developmental neurotoxins,” he says.
Another toxin to the brain is mercury in its organic form. But according to a report published in Pediatrics, there is no evidence that children with autism in the U.S. have increased mercury concentrations or environmental exposures. Though many parents of children with ASD believe their child’s condition was caused by vaccines that used to contain thimerosal , the Institute of Medicine concludes there is no causal association.
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Then And Now: A Look At Autism Over The Last 20 Years
Thanks to a supportive community, over the last 20 years SARRC has been able to advance the understanding and treatment of autism. But what exactly did the autism landscape look like in 1997? We asked members of SARRCs research team to explained. Heres a glimpse of how far weve come.
What is the prevalence of autism among children in the United States?
In 1997, autism was on the rise and so were peoples concerns, yet there were no dedicated efforts to monitor prevalence rates. Rough estimates suggested that 1 in 2,500 children were likely to be diagnosed with autism. In the year 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began carefully tracking prevalence rates through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Today, the CDC reports that one 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder .
What is the average age children are receiving an autism diagnosis?
The estimated average age of diagnosis in the U.S. was 4 years, 4 months in 1997. While parental concerns were noted in earlier development, it was more common for children to be identified and diagnosed upon reaching school age. Currently, the CDC states the average age of diagnosis in the U.S. is 3 years, 10 months. However, research has shown that a reliable diagnosis of autism can be made as early as 2 years old.
What are the expected outcomes for adults with autism?
How have diagnostic criteria changed in the past 20 years?
With Autism On The Rise Science Is On The Hunt For Answers
- Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- Scientists have used two brain imaging techniques to study autism. They found a correlation between brain activity, amino acid byproduct concentrations, and severity of autism diagnosis.
One in 59 children are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder , a wide array of conditions affecting a child’s social, emotional, and behavioral development. With prevalence growing at an unprecedented rate — it has nearly tripled in the last 15 years — scientists race to understand ASD. While genetic and environmental influences have been implicated as potential causes of ASD, little is known about its neurobiology.
Now, researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have brought us one step closer.
In a study published January 30th in the journal Biological Psychiatry, CHLA’s Bradley Peterson, MD, uncovers a direct link between altered brain activity and social deficits in ASD. Peterson’s group studied 44 individuals with ASD and compared them with 66 typically-developing participants. Groups were matched for age, sex, and IQ.
“This is a multimodal imaging data set,” explains Peterson, Director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at CHLA and Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Each modality gives us a different window into the brain. We are able to look through both windows at once to tell us much more about what’s going on in the brains of these individuals.”
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Is Autism Actually On The Rise It’s Not As Straightforward As You Might Think
31 verified experts answered this question on independent fact-checking platform Metafact.io. 17 answered ‘likely’ or higher, this is one of them.
The prevalence of autism the number of cases diagnosed at any age, has increased hugely.
But prevalence is not the same as incidence – the number of cases born with autism. There is no reason to believe that the incidence of autism has increased.
An increase in the prevalence of cases was inevitable given the recognition that the classic definition of autism was too narrow and there was a whole spectrum of autism .
The historic factors in the increase in diagnosed cases was the widening of the criteria, to fit them also to adults, and to be able to apply them to cases previously diagnosed merely with learning disability, where this meant less access to special support.
For instance, a study found that the average administrative prevalence of autism among children in the US had increased from 0.6 to 3.1 per 1000 from 1994 to 2003. But this increase was accounted for by a .
This was not the only factor that drove up prevalence figures: Cases with only very mild symptoms previously not clinically diagnosed at all, were now also included in the autism category. It turns out that it is these cases which are the most likely cause of the increase in prevalence since 2000.
These figures were reported at the;International Society for Autism Research 2018.
What’s Behind The Recent Rise In Autism In The Us
26 April 2018
The percentage of kids with autism in the United States continues to rise, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
The report found that, in 2014, an estimated 1 in 59 children had autism, up from 1 in 68 children in 2012, and 1 in 88 children in 2008. The findings are based on data from more than 300,000 8-year-old children living in 11 diverse communities across the United States.
A previous CDC report, released in 2016, suggested that the autism rate, or prevalence, was leveling off, but the new report shows that this is not the case.
“It is now clear that what we saw in 2016 was just a pause along the way. It remains to be seen at what point rates will plateau,” Walter Zahorodny, an associate professor of pediatrics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a co-author of the report, said in a statement.
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects communication, behavior and the ability to interact with others.
So what’s behind the increase? Perhaps, rather than more kids having autism, just more of them are being diagnosed with it. Communities are doing a better job of diagnosing autism among minority populations, said Alison Singer, president and co-founder of the Autism Science Foundation, who was not involved in the new report.
“Children are just not being diagnosed as early as they can be,” Singer told Live Science.
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Zeroing In On The Genetics Of Autism
Some evidence that genetics plays a role in autism and ASD is provided by research on twins. According to the CDC, if one identical twin has autism, there’s a 75% chance the other twin will be affected, too. If a fraternal twin is affected, the other twin has a 3% chance of having autism.
Parents who give birth to a child with ASD have up to an 8% chance of having another child who is also affected, the CDC estimates.
Many U.S. couples have delayed childbearing, and the older ages of both the mother and the father have been linked with a higher risk of having children with ASD, according to a report in the journal Pediatrics. With age could come increased risk for genetic mutations or other genetic problems.
Specific genetic problems help explain only a small percentage of autism cases so far. “We know that major chromosomal abnormalities are identified in about 5% of ASD,” says Milunsky of Boston University. “We know that Fragile X syndrome is responsible for about 3%.” Fragile X syndrome, a family of genetic conditions, is the most common cause of inherited mental impairment, and also the most common known cause of autism or autism-like behaviors.
“Hot spots” of genetic instability may play a role, researchers say. For instance, a team of researchers reported in The New England Journal of Medicine that duplications and deletions on a specific chromosome seem to be associated with some cases of autism.
But genetics is not the whole story, he and other experts say.