Unique Brain Pattern Could Predict Autism in Youngest Children

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Genetic changes are almost certainly behind many cases of autism, and the latest research suggests that some of those alterations may be contributing to more densely connected networks of brain nerves.

A highly interconnected brain could mean that signals zooming from sensory nerves to other networks become too overwhelming to parse apart and process, which researchers believe is a hallmark of the autistic brain. And in a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, Stanford University researchers report that this pattern of hyperconnectivity in some brain areas could provide a fingerprint for autism that helps doctors to recognize the condition at its earliest stages.

The scientists scanned the brains of 20 autistic children who ranged in age from 7 to 12 and also imaged 20 typically developing children of the same age for comparison. They found stronger connections within many critical brain networks in the autistic children, including those responsible for introspection, vision and movement.

They also saw more robust links in networks that help the brain to triage the flood of incoming information from both our bodies and our environment that assaults us constantly. Called the salience network, it’s responsible for determining which internal or external sensations need our immediate attention. Using a computer program that the researchers developed to make sense of the brain imaging data, they found that by mapping the salience network alone, they could accurately classify autistic or non-autistic children in their study 78% of the time — and could do so 83% of the time using data from other researchers.

(MORE: Brain Imaging Could Detect Autism Risk in Infants as Young as 6 Months)

“That’s wonderful,” says Kamila Markram, the Autism Project Director at the Brain Mind Institute of the EPFL, a federal technology institute in Lausanne, Switzerland, who was not associated with the research, “We must move toward biological markers for autism and not just rely on interviews and observations by people.” Markram previously published animal research suggesting that hyperconnectivity may be involved in autism.

Moreover, the more strongly connected the salience network was in autistic children, the worse symptoms they had in terms of repetitive behaviors like rocking and restricted interests such as being obsessed with computers or the periodic table of elements. The findings suggest that from an early age, children with autism develop differently from those without the condition, and that these changes may be detectable through brain imaging.

Hyperconnection could explain both the behavioral deficits associated with autism as well as some of its more positive outcomes. A more highly connected brain, for example, is prone to information overload, which can lead to social withdrawal, restricted interests and repetitive behavior as ways of escaping or coping. But such enmeshed neural networks may also lead to better memory and greater focus.

(MOREWhat Genius and Autism Have in Common)

“It confirms the hypothesis and theories we suggested in our model,” says Markram, whose work in rats showed that exposure at specific times during fetal development to the epilepsy drug valproic acid (VPA), or Depakote, contributed to hyperconnected brains and autism-like symptoms. That led her to develop the ‘intense world’ theory that sees autism as resulting from an overwhelmed brain that is taking in and processing too much information. 

According to the theory, the repetitive and obsessive focus that some autistic patients develop toward specific behaviors could be a coping mechanism for this information overload. “Because the [autistic] brain is not adaptively focusing on responding to external information, it can focus on a narrow range of interests,” says the study’s lead author Vinod Menon, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford. “That kind of focus is actually what could give rise to these outstanding but restricted areas of exceptional skill.”  He adds that his new research “opens up a nice way of thinking about how the brain is organized that can lead to both deficits and strengths.”

(MOREQ&A: Temple Grandin on the Autistic Brain)

Recognizing a unique autistic brain pattern could also identify children at higher risk of developing the condition well before the first symptoms appear, generally around two years old. Recent studies suggest that intervening with behavioral therapies that help toddlers to learn how to process information in a more organized fashion could reconstruct potentially abnormal networks of brain neurons. And further research may refine these therapies to the point where they could help autistic people to enhance their creative skills and ability to concentrate and mitigate their more unhealthy behaviors.

65 comments
lilady
lilady

About those mice studies and autism

http://www.emilywillinghamphd.com/2012/08/writing-about-autism-science-10-things.html

"...If the study in question is about mice, never talk about how the results will lead to a therapy or a cure or write about the mice as though somehow, they are just tiny humans with tails. Mice have misled us before. They are only a way to model what might happen in a mammal sorta kinda related to us. They are not Us, otherwise we'd live in tiny, crowded places, having 10 children at once and ignoring them when they grow fur, and this autism thing wouldn't be an issue...."


AlainCouvier
AlainCouvier

From the above article.

 "The scientists scanned the brains of 20 autistic children who ranged in age from 7 to 12 and also imaged 20 typically developing children of the same age for comparison."

 One of the more interesting insights made. I suppose an equally interesting explanation that drosphila and zebra fish are not children is awaiting in the wings.

AlainCouvier
AlainCouvier

Interesting to note this research on SFARI website http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/news/2013/imaging-shows-loss-of-brain-chemical-in-autism in regards to GABA - "new study shows that children with autism have low levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that keeps brain signals in check."

Of course ...

"GABA, the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter in the adult brain, has a parallel inhibitory role in the immune system."

"Antigen-presenting cells (APCs) express functional GABA receptors and respond electrophysiologically to GABA. Thus, the immune system harbors all of the necessary constituents for GABA signaling, and GABA itself may function as a paracrine or autocrine factor. These observations led us to ask further whether manipulation of the GABA pathway influences an animal model of multiple sclerosis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Increasing GABAergic activity ameliorates ongoing paralysis in EAE via inhibition of inflammation. GABAergic agents act directly on APCs, decreasing MAPK signals and diminishing subsequent adaptive inflammatory responses to myelin proteins." 

2010 Feb 9;107(6):2580-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0915139107. Epub 2010 Feb 1

AlainCouvier
AlainCouvier

These are fascinating times for ASD research as we begin to unfold the varying layers of biology, neurology and genetics that are significantly linked.

We have made great strides in understanding the neurological and immunological profile of ASD children and this will in turn lead to better identification and early intervention that will have a positive outcome for ASD children.

In terms of immunology and the ASD child we have robust studies indicating immune dysregulation not only supported by genetic / physiological studies but by the significant incidence of co-morbid conditions found in Autism.

* One of the most stunning pieces of research was undertaken at CalTech in 2012 when scientists were able to 'correct' many of the autism like behaviours in mice by implementing a bone marrow transplant.

* Researchers at Center for Neuroscience, UC Davis are investigating the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in regards to Autism and hopefully this can be translated into new treatment regimes in the near future.

* Stanford University researchers have for the first time sequenced the genome of an unborn baby using only a blood sample from the mother.

*Boston Children's Hospital are undertaking work using Rapamycin in breakthrough work that addresses the connection between early epilepsy and autism. Using animal models they have not only shown the connection between autism and epilepsy (mTOR pathway) when implementing Rapamycin they significantly reduced both seizures and autism-like behaviours.

(Rapamycin is an immunosuppresant drug)

* At Tufts University School of Medicine they are exploring perinatal stress and brain inflammation.They are currently trialling Luteolin a flavone with has anti-oxidant, anti-flammatory, anti-allergy and neuroprotective properties.

* California Institute of Technology researchers are investigating the use of probiotics . They have showed in an animal model reduction in anxiety and repetitive behaviors and a boost in social communication.

* Other work is continuing in understanding the relationship between the gastrointestinal tract, the microbiome and neurological outcome in a variety of mental health outcomes including anxiety, depression , schizophrenia and of course autism.

* Columbia University researchers continue to investigate the linkage between viral exposure (influenza)  and mental health outcome (Autism, Schizophrenia , Bipolar , Depression) in the maternal environment.

* Researchers from a variety of institutions are looking at our manufactured environment (air pollution) and how it interacts with gene expression and Autism.

The differing pathways that lead to the outcome we have labelled as Autism has implications for a number of co-morbid diseases and mental health outcomes. We are gaining a far greater insight into how mental health can be linked to epilepsy, the immune system , the gut , bacteria and virus and how all this interacts with physiology and our genes.




aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism like.author.displayName 1 Like

Is a link between the GI tract and autism even biologically plausible? Considering the warning signs are apparent soon after birth and all.

Of course, one must wonder why vaxers obsess over the GI tract when, really, it's not even necessary for their central thesis (which is still biologically implausible).

AlainCouvier
AlainCouvier

Such blissful ignorance intrepid troll ?

bepatienz
bepatienz like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Although this article discusses genetically-determined causes of autism, like essentially all articles that discuss ASD it has been comment-bombed by antivaccine activists who reject scientific evidence and cling to their failed hypotheses.

Although the claims of antivaccine activists have been repeatedly eviscerated in the scientific literature, it might be useful to review a study published earlier this month that neatly packages the evidence that refutes the anti-vaxxer's claims and ties that evidence in a neat bow: Evald Saemundsen et al. Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in an Icelandic birth cohort.
BMJ Open. 2013; 3(6): e002748.

Note that thimerosal-containing vaccines were banned in Iceland since 1991, that influenza vaccines (which might contain thimerosal) are recommended in Iceland only for people 60 years of age or older (that is, influenza vaccines are NOT recommended for either children or pregnant women) and uptake of such influenza vaccines is much lower than in the US.: 

1. As in other countries, the prevalence of ASD continued to increase after exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines was curtailed: although thimerosal was banned in 1991,the authors noted: "In a 4-year period, from the end of 2005 to the end of 2009, the prevalence of ASD in the cohort studied doubled, moving from 0.6% to 1.2%." Note that the apparent prevalence of ASD in Iceland in 2005 was comparable to that in the United States at that time. Note also that, as in the US, Denmark and Canada, decreasing exposure to thimerosal-containing pediatric vaccines was followed by increasing prevalence of ASD.

2. The anti-vaxxer's "too many too soon" argument is again refuted in this this study:

(a) children in Iceland receive about one-half as many vaccines as do children in the US (in particular, children in Iceland do not receive the birth dose of HepB vaccine or the following doses, or the repeated vaccinations against rotavirus, pneumococcus, varicella, or HepA), but the prevalence of ASD in the two countries is comparable

(b) the vaccination schedule in Iceland is generally somewhat delayed compared to the US schedule

3. The anti-vaxxer's goalpost-shifting "it's the aluminum!" cry must account for how half as many vaccines in Iceland provide as much aluminum as is instilled by the US schedule--although, of course, the fact that children receive much more aluminum via intake of breast milk or formula than they get from vaccines might be a problem

4. The "it's the birth dose of the dreaded HepB vaccine" that causes ASD meme is of  course refuted by the fact that babies in Iceland are not vaccinated--ever--against HepB



AlainCouvier
AlainCouvier

@bepatienz 

 DESIGN: The cohort is based on a nationwide database on ASD among children born during 1994-1998.


That is very problematic to your reasoning.

AutismNewsBeat
AutismNewsBeat like.author.displayName 1 Like

@bepatienz-  Yes, but Icelandic Amish don't vaccinate at all, and they never get autism.  And pay no attention to the Heilsugæslustöð for Special Children.


neuroautomaton
neuroautomaton

An issue not addressed here is specific to the technique the researchers used, called "classification". Classification methods involve identifying patterns in data (e.g. brain images) that differ for one group relative to another (e.g. kids with autism vs controls). But the researchers never know which patterns were identified or what they mean--the data used by the computer could be due to any difference between the groups, even if this difference tells us little about autism that we didn't already know. 

According to this article, "the more strongly connected the salience network was in autistic children, the worse symptoms they had in terms of repetitive behaviors like rocking and restricted interests". Two points here: 

i) Movements like "rocking" affect fMRI signals, and even the correct that is used systematically alters the signal. Perhaps the classifier is relying upon changes in the brain scan images caused by movement/correction effects to classify the subjects accurately. 

 ii) Classification is only useful if it offers new insights into the causes of autism. The above article makes it appear like these results "confirm" a theory, but really this is no different than saying that "the brains of kids with autism, differ from control brains in how they function". It must be true, but we want to know the important ways in which this is true. If the authors restricted their analysis to this "salience network", without showing that it predicts better than other brain activity interactions, then this result may be partly due to the authors' preferences for where to look.

AlainCouvier
AlainCouvier

Medical research has given us as a society a great deal of new information in regards yo the neurology, physiology and genetics of autism in the past couple of years. The most notable research that comes to mind in regards to this article was undertaken by the Geschwind lab at University of California LA in 2011. 

Transcriptomic analysis of autistic brain revealed 'convergent molecular abnormalities in ASD'  neurology and the  immune system.

"We show that the transcriptome changes observed in ASD brain converge with GWAS data in supporting the <b>  genetic basis of synaptic and neuronal signaling dysfunction in ASD, while immune changes have a less pronounced genetic component and thus are most likely either secondary phenomena or caused by environmental factors.</b> Since immune molecules and cells such as microglia play a role in synaptic development and function we speculate that the observed immune up-regulation may be related to abnormal ongoing plasticity in ASD brain."

Clearly gene and environment intersect in the development and pathology of ASD as has been shown in a substantial number of other research that shows clear immune system dysregulation.



AlainCouvier
AlainCouvier

What also comes to mind is the significant findings made by varying researchers around the world that have begun to unpack the varying co-morbidities of autism that are evident in the postnatal environment. In 2012 Harvard University showed that ASD children have a much higher incidence of disease that is immune based than other children, as well as neurlogically based.

Epilepsy was nearly seven times more frequent in ASD children. Schizophrenia 3x more likely. Inflammatory Bowel Disease from 2x in childhood rising to 3x in later adolescence and adulthood. CNS cranial abnormalities 6x. Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 2x and interestingly Muscular Dystrophy 2x.

Researchers from Taiwan found significant co-morbidity of Allergic and Autoimmune diseases.

"A total of 1596 patients with ASDs were identified, and were found to have a significantly higher prevalence of allergic and autoimmune diseases than the control group. 

Patients with ASDs had increased risks of asthma (OR = 1.74, 95%CI = 1.51–1.99), 

allergic rhinitis (OR = 1.70, 95%CI = 1.51–1.91), 

atopic dermatitis (OR = 1.52, 95%CI = 1.30–1.78), 

urticaria (OR = 1.38, 95%CI = 1.12–1.69) and 

type 1 diabetes (OR = 4.00, 95%CI = 1.00–16.00), 

and a trend toward increasing comorbidity with Crohn’s disease (OR = 1.46, 95%CI = 0.90–2.35)."

These two research papers fit well into the work undertaken as described above and it is now robustly clear that gene and environment interact, ASD both as neurological and immunological disease although having roots in the prenatal environment unfolds in varying ways as a child develops and interacts with the environment outside the womb.

In 2012 researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University found that Atopic diseases were associated with mental health outcome.

If a child had Atopic Dermatitis / Eczema then ... they had almost twice the risk of developing clinically significant - Attention Deficit Disorder , Anxiety, Depression , Conduct Disorder and were 3x more likely to be diagnosed with Autism.

We live in a world where there is a dynamic interaction between us as living breathing humans and the environment around us. Our physiology, our neurology and what might be called our "self identity" are products of an interplay that is vast and complex. Even the hot of bacteria and viruses that 'inhabit' our gut and microbiome have effect.

In two significant research papers examing Gastrointestinal Disease and Autism - 87 - 88% of the children examined had ...

"CPEA-defined behavioral regression (loss of language and/or other skills following acquisition), 88%, compared to published rates of 20–40% for the general ASD population"

It is time to embrace our shared ecological destiny in medical science and undertake multilayered and multidisciplined approaches to what we poorly define as Autism Spectrum Disorders and other conditions surrounding mental health and behavior.





lilady
lilady

That's another study added to the growing body of evidence that subtle changes in the brain structure of autistic babies are present at birth...thus further debunking the theory that vaccines are implicated in the onset of autism.

MaurineMeleck
MaurineMeleck like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

There is no such thing as a genetic epidemic so I really don't get the  point of this article.  If the intention is to make people think children are born with autism, it won't work.  There is no proof that these brain changes take place before or at birth,  It would be  a real study if an infant's brain is  studied prior to any vaccinations.  In fact, a fully vaccinated vs fully unvaccinated study of children needs to be done right away.  It should have been done over a decade ago when the autism numbers were climbing.

Maurine Meleck, SC

bepatienz
bepatienz like.author.displayName 1 Like

@MaurineMeleck It's quite strange that you reflexively and repetitively post "there is no such thing as a genetic epidemic" when you clearly must know that most if not all of the apparent increase in the prevalence of ASD has been ascribed by different research groups to nongenetic factors including changing diagnostic criteria, changes in awareness of ASD among parents and practitioners, diagnostic accretion, and diagnostic substitution. Of course you are aware that one-fourth of the apparent increase in the prevalence of ASD is due simply to assigning and additional label of ASD to children who years earlier would have been considered only mentally impaired. Why do you continue to post such a silly straw man argument?

lilady
lilady

@MaurineMeleck You know darn well that doing a vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated, double blinded, placebo-controlled  prospective study is unethical, Maurine. Why don't you get your friends at Age of Autism to fund such a study and try to get approval from an institutional review board to conduct that unethical study which would leave innocent babies unprotected from serious, sometimes deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases.

Better still, why don't you take some classes in human biology and physiology, chemistry, immunology, bacteriology, virology and epidemiology, before you come posting on science blogs.




aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism like.author.displayName 1 Like

You do realize, of course, that we know what infants' brains look like before vaccines. We also know that autism runs in families, something that vaccines wouldn't explain. And withholding vaccines would be unethical; you are aware just how deadly infectious diseases are, right?

BTW, one of the symptoms of autism is macrocephaly. One of the symptoms of mercury poisoning? Microcephaly. Also, thiomersal hasn't been in vaccines since 1998. And thiomersal would turn into ethylmercury, rather than methylmercury. Unlike CH3Hg, C2H5Hg is easily excreted.

(I should add, on a personal level, Andrew Wakefield is a trigger for me. The whole idea of having your children lure other children to your house where you ask them to remove their shorts, even if it's for a bone marrow sample, makes me think of sexual abuse.)

MaurineMeleck
MaurineMeleck like.author.displayName 1 Like

@aliberaldoseofskepticism you do know, of couse, that there is no autism until now in our family.  We do not know it runs in families because the rise in autism didn't begin until the early 1990's with the beginning of the hugeincrease in the number of vaccines given to babies..  No doubt you've heard there are thousands of children whose parents have never had them vaccinated.  You should realize that there's an HMO in Chicago with 10,00 young patients, never vaccinated, and not one case of autism.  You must realize that this would not be unethical to use them.  If you don't already know that mercury was NOT removed from vaccines in 1998-It was recommended only to start removing it in 1999 and was done so slowly so some vials were good on the doctors; shelves well into 2005., you should know.  Another fact you missed--it was put back into the flu shot (20 percent are thimerosal free) in 2004 in 12 to 50 micrograms.  That vaccine is recommended for pregnant women and babies over six months.  Ethylmercury is not easily excreted, especially in children  born with a lesser anount of glutathione.  Your facts on Wakefield are ridiculous.  He never lured anyone. It was his kid's birthday party and he took some blood from their arms.  You also ob viously don't know he study has been replicated in 7 different countries and a numbrof times in the US.  I had all the deadly diseases you speak of and never died and never knew anyone who did either.

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism

Cute, but again, the "nerd" stereotype is now known as Asperger syndrome. And of course you can say anything because the dx didn't exist yet. If a man presents Kaposi's sarcoma, thrush, and Pneumocystis carinii in 1979, does the fact that it's 1979 and HIV hasn't been discovered yet mean he doesn't have AIDS?

lilady
lilady

@MaurineMeleck @aliberaldoseofskepticism Golly Maurine, have you got any citations from reliable peer-reviewed first tier science or medical journals to back up your statements?

(hint) Age of Autism is not a reliable peer-reviewed first tier science or medical journal.

vgupta123
vgupta123

@aliberaldoseofskepticism If you don't agree with Wakefield, you can use some better arguments. Accusing him of sex abuse is disgusting. 

Are you an employee of the vaccination industry, or do you benefit financially from vaccines in other ways?

vgupta123
vgupta123

@aliberaldoseofskepticismAre you an employee of the vaccination industry, or do you benefit financially from vaccines in other ways?

Since you did not respond, I am assuming that you are financially benefiting from the vaccination industry. So to be ethical (as you are concerned about ethics of Wakefield), you should add a disclaimer to your posts that you have a financial conflict of interest.

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism

I said it reminded me of sex abuse. I didn't accuse him of sex abuse. I just said the dude creeped me out.

In either case, he experimented on children without their parents' express consent. That's not ethical or legal.

doctorsensation
doctorsensation like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Biological markers are a ruse. The real issue is what man-made environmental triggers are creating the problem.

I don't think parents of autistic children buy into the genetic theory. I also think the genetic theory flies in the face of mathematical odds.  Let's get the real work done and look at toxins in the environemnt ie; glyphosphates such as "round up" and Vaccine ingredients such as tween 80 mixed with heavy metals such as HG and AL as well as viral material. I'm sure we could "round up" a few more suspects if we tried.

lilady
lilady

@doctorsensation We already know that some parents don't "buy into" the field of human genetics...because their sources of information are those notorious anti-vaccine, anti-science internet blogs.

BTW, are you a licensed medical doctor?

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism like.author.displayName 1 Like

No, @doctorsensation is her rap name, like Dr Dre.

It would be an awesome rap name, though.

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism like.author.displayName 1 Like

Yeah, that's kinda...no. Why would you think vaccines, anyway? Why not some other pollutant? And don't cite anecdotal evidence. You know we won't accept that.

haferba
haferba like.author.displayName 1 Like

Very good synopsis in where autism research has been leading us. Wish there was more research on the sensory issues, as the effects can be debilitating. Genetics seems to be the most conclusive piece of the puzzle. Now to know what if anything works in tandem with genes to set autistic development in motion, defininately IMHO something prenatal. I knew within 2 hours of child's birth something was off, but I didn't know what it was at the time. Child has two cousins with autism as well.

VictorPavlovic
VictorPavlovic

@haferba so all this means is that your family is genetically susceptible to some toxins in the environment, many parents have pinpointed vaccinations in spite of what the Big Pharma led media likes to promote. We can't have a genetic epidemic so that rules genetics alone out, it needs a trigger and that trigger is for most mercury and other toxins in the environment along with the heavy assault of vaccines our children are bombarded with.

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism

Most people would say the "epidemic" is a statistical artifact of an increased awareness of autism, coupled with broader diagnostic criteria. You'd need an actual study (and not just anecdotal evidence) to connect vaccines to autism.

I suggest we deal with antivaxers the way Fidel Castro wanted to deal with AIDS patients: Move them to their own island. Who's with me, comrades?

vgupta123
vgupta123 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

The article starts with the word "genetic" but does not provide any evidence to support genetic causes of autism. Genes can't change fast enough to explain the rate at which autism is increasing. Focus on genes is a nice way to distract our attention from true causes, such as vaccinations, older moms and dads, drug use during pregnancy, etc.. 

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism like.author.displayName 1 Like

Interestingly, The Drs., as much as I find them insufferable for their antivaccine bias (treating Jim Sears as a neutral source), among other insanities, had a family on where most of the kids were autistic. Which would suggest genetics. What are you looking for, exactly? That we take a family with a history of autism and force them to inbreed?

There is at least one environmental trigger associated with autism, though: Mommy having rubella while she's pregannt. In which case, if you want to reduce the rate of autism, you would get an MMR. But no, you don't care about autism. Or any other medical issue. For you, it's just your ego. You can't deal with the idea that something you can't change about yourself, such as your DNA, may be less than perfect. Deal. Most humans have a couple nasty recessive genes lurking in their DNA, one of the reasons for the universality of the incest taboo.

(And while we're here, most diseases have some degree of a genetic element. Hence, for instance, why you have to be medically cleared to visit the Amazon: The people there just don't have any immunity to most of the world's infections.)

vgupta123
vgupta123

@aliberaldoseofskepticism "What are you looking for, exactly? That we take a family with a history of autism and force them to inbreed?" 

Wow. So what you are saying is that if we can't prove something using an ethical or practical study, we should just assume that it is true. Likewise, just because we can't send a rocket to the neighboring galaxy, we should just assume that life exists there?

The incest taboo exist because SOME diseases are genetic such as cystic fibrosis. But that does not mean that flu is also genetic or that autism is genetic.  

Please read the book "The Missing Gene" by Jay Joseph. It debunks all claims about genetic causes of autism. It doesn't say what the real causes are because nobody knows for sure. But harping on genetics without strong evidence is a sure way to divert attention from real causes of autism whatever they are.


vgupta123
vgupta123

@aliberaldoseofskepticism You are not disclosing your own credentials or your own financial conflict of interest. But you are questioning everybody (Joseph, Wakefield, etc.) else's credentials and ethics. 

You don't need to be an MD to analyze statistical evidence about genes. In fact, most MDs  are terribly ignorant about statistics. Here is a question for you which majority of MDs (who prescribe the PSA test) could not answer:

The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test commonly used for prostate cancer screening has a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 60%, meaning that 80% of people with cancer will test positive and 60% of people without cancer will test negative. Based on his age and race, a man has a 1% probability of prostate cancer before the PSA test. What is his probability of cancer after the test if he tests positive?

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism

Straw man, @vgupta123.

The issue here is that we can check pedigrees, and all evidence points to a genetic cause.

And is Dr Joseph an MD? I thought not. I'm skeptical of a lot of "gene for _IQ, homosexuality, aggression_" claims, but autism runs in families.

AnneDachel1
AnneDachel1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

The truth is, while researchers continue to guess about autism and scratch their collective heads over this mysterious disorder, every year, tens of thousands of these disabled children will finish their education with nowhere to go. They will become the responsibility of the taxpayers as dependent adults. Imagine the future when autism isn't merely a disorder affecting children. Imagine one in every 50 adults, one in every 31 men, disabled with autism.

Where will they live? Who will care for them? And the biggest question of all...How will we pay for them?

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

AutismNewsBeat
AutismNewsBeat like.author.displayName 1 Like

@AnneDachel1-  "every year, tens of thousands of these disabled children will finish their education with nowhere to go."

Check your math, Anne. Your spam also tells us the prevalence of autism in 1995 was 1:500. Given a birth cohort of about 4 million that year, there would be 8,000 18 yr olds leaving high school this year, not "tens of thousands." The only way your claim can be true is if:

1.  The real prevalence of ASDs in 1995 was at least 1:200 and

2.  All of those cases were so severe as to require taxpayer funded care.

Given that you have no empirical basis for your autism epidemic claim, isn't it odd that your doomsday scenario pre-supposes a near steady incidence over the last 20 years? If I was JB Handley, I would seriously rethink where I am spending my FUD money. 


Is your resumé up to date?

lilady
lilady

@AnneDachel1 Stop wasting your time and ours by posting your Spam, Anne.

When have you and your groupies ever advocated for increased resources and funding for programs to help autistic children and adults, Anne? 

Did you and your ilk push for passage for the Affordable Care Act which provides funds for intensive therapies?  I don't think so. You complain that the quack therapies that you subject children to, such as industrial bleach enemies, chelation and castration and invasive, intrathecal stem cell transplants in filthy unregulated off-shore clinics (in a futile effort to *recover* an autistic child), is not covered by your medical insurance.

I know, I know...you *claim* you never met an autistic child when you were growing up 50 years ago...ergo there must be an autism epidemic/autism tsunami.  Give it up Anne.


AnneDachel1
AnneDachel1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

This piece doesn't tell us, but the current autism rate is now one in every 50 kids in the U.S. Among boys alone, it's one in 31. Genetic changes in the brain couldn't possibly explain what's happening to our children.

Many experts and officials over the past two decades have assured us that the increases in autism were merely "better diagnosing" of a disorder that's always been here. In Whenever we hear about autism, it's almost always about CHILDREN WITH AUTISM. So where are the 40, 50, and 60 year olds displaying the same signs of autism that we see in our children?

This story is focused on the brain of autistic children. Where are the adults with the signs of "hyperconnectivity" in their brains too?

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

vgupta123
vgupta123

@AnneDachel1 You may like to read the book "The Missing Gene" by Jay Joseph. It explains all the reasons how/why autism is not inherited, and why the evidence linking genes and autism is completely flawed. 

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism like.author.displayName 1 Like

"Scratch their heads"? LOL You mean we shouldn't try to figure out what causes autism? Of course, since your ego, not to mention your bank account, demands that it be mysterious. You know what? You make me sick. Seriously, Time, you need a Dislike button.

StaceyShermanJohnson
StaceyShermanJohnson like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@AnneDachel1 I'm 46 (well, almost 47). I'm autistic. There are plenty of us out here if you look. And I have 3 out of 4 children also on the spectrum. It is absolutely genetic.

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sh, don't get actual people with the disorder in question on here when alties discuss a disorder. It tends to get them pissed that the people they supposedly care about don't want their "help".

haferba
haferba like.author.displayName 1 Like

@AnneDachel1 Surely you must know that autism wasn't made an official diagnois until the 80's? Most older adults were called things like "brain damaged", or "childhood schizaphrenia", etc. As the autism diagnosis has risen, other diagnosis have receded.

VictorPavlovic
VictorPavlovic

@haferba @AnneDachel1 good point, and since and since it wasn't made an official diagnosis until the 80's, I think of it as vaccine damage or as we call it today 'Autism' the man-made vaccine epidemic.

lilady
lilady like.author.displayName 1 Like

@VictorPavlovic @haferba @AnneDachel1  

Why don't you tell us how you made a claim for "vaccine damages" in the Vaccine Court on behalf of your autistic child and how your claim was denied?

Please stop referring to your child as damaged goods. 

AnneDachel1
AnneDachel1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

There is no proof that other diagnoses have receded.  I simply ask, where are the 40, 50, and 60 year olds who display the same signs of autism that we see in so many of our children.  No one has ever shown us where these people are, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.   Experts readily admit that 80 percent of autistic Americans are under the age of 18.

haferba
haferba

Thanks, I'm totally getting that. Very sad for those who want to do best by their autistic loved ones. It's heartbreaking to me, really.

bepatienz
bepatienz like.author.displayName 1 Like

@AnneDachel1 That's nonsense, Anne, and you should know it by now since it has been pointed out to you repeatedly. Sentient beings can, for example, check to see that the prevalence of specific learning disability in the much-studied California database declined as the prevalence of ASD increased. Why do you continue to prevaricate?

aliberaldoseofskepticism
aliberaldoseofskepticism

Yeah, that's basically what it means. And not all autism is the same. Most people with Asperger's are generally functioning members of society, though they tend to be a bit on the Vulcan end of the Spock-versus-McCoy spectrum, which makes them miss certain social cues.

haferba
haferba like.author.displayName 1 Like

@AnneDachel1 I think they are saying that 80% of those diagnosed with autism are under 18, not that 80% of autistics are under the age of 18.