Is The Number Of Children With Autism Increasing
No good evidence exists to show that more children have autism now than in years past.
Experts agree that what seems to be a higher number of children with autism is actually more children being identified and receiving a diagnosis of ASD. Why?
More professionals are being trained to recognize early symptoms of ASD.
In the past, autism was narrowly defined, with only the most severely affected children receiving the diagnosis.
We now know that autism exists on a broad spectrum that includes children who are mildly affected, children with severe symptoms, and many levels of autism symptoms affecting children in between. This is why ASD has become widely accepted as a more descriptive term.
Children with autism who may previously have been misdiagnosed with another disorder are now being correctly identified.
In short, a larger number of knowledgeable professionals are identifying ASD in more children and at an earlier age.
Of course, other factors that may influence the number of children diagnosed with autism have not been entirely ruled out. For example, research continues into the possibility that environmental toxins may cause genetic changes that affect the development of the immature fetal brain, leading to a variety of neurological problems. We do not have all the answers yet.
What Are The Rates Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Rates of autism are on the rise. However, rates may not be increasing solely because there are more cases of ASD; they might also be increasing due to a broader definition and a better diagnosis of ASD. As the numbers of ASD increase, additional community resources need grow too, such as educational services and a coordinated response to families whose children have ASD.
The CDC has tracked data using the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Sites. The goals of the ADDM Network are to:
- Describe the population of children with ASD
- Compare how common ASD is in different areas of the country
- Identify changes in ASD occurrence over time
- Understand the impact of ASD and related conditions in US communities
What If I Don’t Vaccinate My Child
It is important to vaccinate to prevent outbreaks of diseases that are nearly under control today.
Vaccinations are one of the most important actions we can take to protect ourselves, our children, and our communities from disease. This is especially important for children who cannot be vaccinated because they are too young or sick.
If a case of a disease is introduced into a community where most people are not vaccinated, an outbreak can occur because the widespread protection known as “herd immunity” breaks down. Herd immunity refers to the ability to avoid a contagious disease within a community. This occurs if enough people are immune to the disease by building antibodies, especially through vaccination or prior illness.
In 2000, the United States was declared measles-free.
- But infected travelers visiting or returning to the US from abroad have caused outbreaks, and unvaccinated children are most at risk, research has shown.
- As published in the Journal of the American Medical Association , several measles outbreaks occurred in the U.S. among groups with low vaccination rates, including in the states of Texas, New York and California, in 2014.
- As reported by the CDC, from January 1 to December 31, 2019, 1,282 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 31 states in the U.S. The majority of cases were among people who were not vaccinated against measles.
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What Is Known About Mercury And Developmental Disorders
Thimerosal is metabolized to ethylmercury, which is thought to have similar effects to methylmercury. Apart from recognized delayed sensitivity reactions, high dose exposure is known to include neurotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. Chronic low dose exposure may cause subtle neurological abnormalities. Weir and Chance have reviewed the data on pollution from environmental mercury and the measures taken to minimize exposure of Canadians. Ball et al have reviewed the few human studies evaluating thimerosal. None of these investigations have found evidence of toxicity after low dose exposure. Health Canada has recently published a thorough review of all the data and has concluded that thimerosal-free vaccines are now available for all children in Canada for routine immunizations . A certain number of special vaccines containing thimerosal are still used in some Canadian jurisdictions. Influenza vaccine still contains a very low concentration of thimerosal, but is not used in infants. These should still be offered in all instances where no thimerosal-free alternative is available because the balance of benefit is clearly in favour of preventing infection.
As a result of Balls review and an independent review by the Institute of Medicine , the following conclusions regarding mercury and vaccines have been reached.
Myth #2: Infant Immune Systems Can’t Handle So Many Vaccines
Infant immune systems are stronger than you might think. Based on the number of antibodies present in the blood, a baby would theoretically have the ability to respond to around 10,000 vaccines at one time. Even if all 14 scheduled vaccines were given at once, it would only use up slightly more than 0.1% of a baby’s immune capacity. And scientists believe this capacity is purely theoretical. The immune system could never truly be overwhelmed because the cells in the system are constantly being replenished. In reality, babies are exposed to countless bacteria and viruses every day, and immunizations are negligible in comparison.
Though there are more vaccinations than ever before, today’s vaccines are far more efficient. Small children are actually exposed to fewer immunologic components overall than children in past decades.
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Study Shows Hepatitis B Vaccine Is Linked To Higher Autism Rates
The Hepatitis B vaccine is considered standard procedure for newborns. But new research shows a link between the vaccine and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Learn more about vaccines and how they can affect your health.
Talk about an alarming health trend! A new government study released in October indicates;about 1 in 100 children have;autism spectrum disorders. This is a rapid rise.
- A separate study conducted by the Center for Disease Control also found the same autism rate,;which is higher than their previous U.S. estimate of 1 in 150 children with autism.
- The 2007 survey results from the National Survey of Childrens Health reveals a;100% increase in parent-reported;autism spectrum disorders, compared to the 2003 results.
- Although some federal health officials speculate that greater awareness accounts for the results, Dr. Thomas Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, says, The concern here is that buried in these numbers is a true increase.
Vaccines And Autism: A New Scientific Review
For all those who’ve declared the autism-vaccine debate over – a new scientific review begs to differ. It considers a host of peer-reviewed, published theories that show possible connections between vaccines and autism.
The article in the Journal of Immunotoxicology is entitled “Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes–A review.” The author is Helen Ratajczak, surprisingly herself a former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical firm. Ratajczak did what nobody else apparently has bothered to do: she reviewed the body of published science since autism was first described in 1943. Not just one theory suggested by research such as the role of MMR shots, or the mercury preservative thimerosal; but all of them.
Ratajczak’s article states, in part, that “Documented causes of autism include genetic mutations and/or deletions, viral infections, and encephalitis following vaccination . Therefore, autism is the result of genetic defects and/or inflammation of the brain.”
The article goes on to discuss many potential vaccine-related culprits, including the increasing number of vaccines given in a short period of time. “What I have published is highly concentrated on hypersensitivity, Ratajczak told us in an interview, “the body’s immune system being thrown out of balance.”
Interagency Autism Coordination Committee:
Overview of all CDC surveillance and epi work:
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Could There Be A Link Between Autism Rates And Childhood Vaccinations
For years,;the link between vaccines and autism has been debated and contested. Some medical professionals assert that correlation isnt the same as causation, especially for MMR shots.
But considering that current the;US childhood immunization schedule calls for 28 injections with 11 different vaccines before the age of two, its still impossible to know ;conclusively exactly if and how childhood vaccination is associated with an increased risk for autism spectrum disorders.
Now, a new study published in the September 2009 issue of;Annals of Epidemiology shows that giving Hepatitis B vaccine to newborn baby boys may;triple the risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder.
To be sure, this doesnt imply that the Hepatitis B vaccine causes an autism spectrum disorder, per se. But this study may show a link to the rapid increase, and support a hypothesized;causal association between the Hepatitis B vaccine and ASD, at least in boys.
With all the anxiety over;the flu, the swine flu and other illnesses causing a national scare, its time we take a step back and thoughtfully evaluate the necessity of vaccines and their appropriateness for you and your family.By now, youve probably been urged by your employer and/or your childrens school to seek flu vaccinations this year.
Vaccinations, which used to be an optional, independent decision, now seem like mandatory precautions against disease.
Timing Of First Symptoms
Using a sophisticated movement analysis, videos from children eventually diagnosed with autism or not diagnosed with autism were coded and evaluated for their capacity to predict autism. Children who were eventually diagnosed with autism were predicted from movies taken in early infancy. This study supported the hypothesis that very subtle symptoms of autism are present in early infancy and argues strongly against vaccines as a cause of autism.
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Structural Abnormalities Of The Nervous System
Toxic or viral insults to the fetus that cause autism, as well as certain central nervous system disorders associated with autism, support the notion that autism is likely to occur in the womb. For example, children exposed to thalidomide during the first or early second trimester were found to have an increased incidence of autism. Thalidomide was a medication that used to be prescribed to pregnant women to treat nausea. However, autism occurred in children with ear, but not arm or leg, abnormalities. Because ears develop before 24 days gestation, and arms and legs develop after 24 days gestation, the risk period for autism following receipt of thalidomide must have been before 24 days gestation. In support of this finding, Rodier and colleagues found evidence for structural abnormalities of the nervous system in children with autism. These abnormalities could only have occurred during development of the nervous system in the womb.
British Columbia Specific Information
Immunizations, also known as vaccinations, help protect you from getting an infectious disease. When you get vaccinated, you help protect others as well. Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than an infectious disease.
For information about vaccine safety, visit ImmunizeBC. If your child was born in B.C., you should have received a Child Health Passport that contains an immunization record. If you did not receive one, you can request one from your local health unit.
If you have questions or concerns about immunizations, speak to your health care provider or call 8-1-1 to speak to a registered nurse anytime, every day of the year.
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Where Did The Myth About Vaccines And Autism Come From
A 1998 study falsely linked MMR vaccine and autism. The paper was retracted and its author lost his medical license, but the idea stuck.
Sometimes there are two sides of an issue, and sometimes there aren’t. When it comes to the safety of vaccines, there’s only one side. Vaccines are safe. They do not cause autism and they do save lives.
But where did that false idea about autism originate in the first place? Seth Mnookin, a lecturer at MIT, gives the history in his book “The Panic Virus.” In 1998, a British doctor named Andrew Wakefield claimed he found a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. MMR stands for measles, mumps, and rubella. It was a tiny study, just 12 people.
Investigators later discovered Dr. Wakefield had fudged his data. The paper was retracted and Wakefield lost his medical license. Numerous studies since then have thoroughly debunked the idea that vaccines cause autism. But once the idea was out there in the public, it stuck.
One reason the myth is so persistent is that autism is on the rise, and we don’t know why. Parents are right to be frightened about that, but they are wrong if they think vaccines are to blame. We don’t know what causes autism, but we know it is not vaccines.
Are Vaccines Linked To Autism
The topic of childhood vaccines leading to autism spectrum disorder is one that never seems to fades away.
Concerns about vaccines leading to autism surfaced in 1999 and initially involved the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
Because the MMR vaccine is usually given at age 12 to 15 months, and the first signs of autism often appear at this time, concerns were raised about a link between the MMR vaccine and the development of autism.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has conducted 9 studies that have found no association between thimerosal-containing vaccines and ASD, or between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and ASD in children.
In 2019, in the largest study ever published on this topic, investigators found no evidence that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism when looking at over 650,000 Danish children. This result held true even when researchers focused on children at greater risk for developing autism. The results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Unfortunately researchers are skeptical the new data will change the mind of so-called “anti-vaxxers”. However, they feel the large study might provide reassurance to certain parents who are willing to listen to science.
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Is Thimerosal Still Found In Vaccines
Thimerosal has been removed or reduced to trace amounts in most vaccines, with the exception of the multi-dose vial of the seasonal flu shot. Thimerosal is added to multi-dose vials to help prevent overgrowth of bacteria.
For parents who prefer, preservative-free versions of the flu shot are available; all you have to do is request it from your doctor or pharmacist. You may need to check with your insurance first to be sure they’ll pay for the preservative-free form.
Thimerosal used to be found in the hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B and diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines, among others. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has worked with vaccine manufacturers to eliminate thimerosal from vaccines recommended for children 6 years and younger. In many common childhood vaccines, thimerosol was never present.
Thimerosal is not present in any COVID vaccine issued for emergency use authorization in the U.S. To see a full list of ingredients for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., follow this link.
At this time, the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in children is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and it is only used in children 16 years or older. Studies in younger populations are ongoing.
Autism Expert: Case Is Rare
A pediatrician who serves on a childhood vaccine advisory committee for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sees the case differently. “To say mercury causes autism is a giant leap,” says Jaime Deville, MD, a pediatrician at Mattel Children’s Hospital at the University of California Los Angeles.
“Epidemiological studies do not support the hypothesis that mercury in vaccines causes autism in the general population,” he tells WebMD. “However, there might be individual sporadic, or rare cases in which patients have an adverse reaction after a dose of a vaccine that might exacerbate a pre-existing condition.”
That was the contention in Hannah’s case — that Hannah developed a disorder of the mitochondria, the cells’ “power sources,” before developing autism-like symptoms.
In a statement, Chuck Mohan, executive director and CEO of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, says science has not linked vaccines to mitochondrial disorders.
Deville worries that parents will again shy away from vaccines. “I would expect parents to start calling pediatricians,” he tells WebMD. But he adds that Hannah’s situation “seems to be an isolated case.”
He also points out: “Once mercury was removed in 2001, autism cases did not decline.”
He doubts that the decision will spur further research into the proposed vaccine-autism link, partly because of a lack of research funding.
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To 24 Months: The Crucial Stage
Typically, parents first note behavioural symptoms suggestive of autism at around 15 months of age, the time when the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is first administered . Furthermore, at least one in three children with autism has regression in language and social skills in the second year of life . Because neurological investigation reveals no organic etiology, the temporal association with immunization suggests to some parents that vaccination must be causally linked. Although home video reviews and current studies of infants who have an older sibling with autism suggest that differences exist in the first year of life, most parents do not detect differences in their child until the second year .
The recurrence risk for autism in subsequent siblings is at least 5% to 8% . When parents of one autistic child also worry about the vaccination connection, subsequent siblings are not only at risk for autism but also for not receiving timely vaccination.