The Rising Rate of Autism

An excellent study by researchers at John Hopkins University and the University of Minnesota sheds new light on a most serious trend: The rise in the number of American children who suffer from autism. In fact, the growth in autism numbers appears to be showing up in successively younger children, especially kids born from 1987-92.

The interesting distinction about this study is researchers studied the prevalence of autism, meaning the portion of people in a given population affected by it at a point in time, yielding a snapshot of its impact. Then, researchers compared the trend in autism in relation to other health calamities in children, including brain injuries, retardation and speech problems.

Some have said rising autism rates are nothing more than than a shift in diagnosis, but this new study -- comparing autism in relation to those other catastrophic health issues -- blows that theory right out of the water. And, the prevalence of autism continues to rise, although the increases aren't as high as they were for kids born between 1987-92.

One expert with the National Alliance for Autism Research in Princeton, N.J., predicts autism will be a major burden on educational systems. In fact, parents may spend as much as $40,000 annually to provide care to their autistic child. One comment speaks volumes: "If this trend continues, it could be possible that we would no longer be able to care for everyone who deserved the care."

Of course, the so-called experts still dispute the link between mercury-tainted vaccines and autism, and they would be very wrong. If you remain skeptical and conflicted about the safety and necessity of vaccines, I strongly urge you to review the extensive resources I have on my Web site, starting with recent reports by Drs. Donald Miller and Russell Blaylock.

Pediatrics Vol. 115, No. 3 March 2005, pp. e277-e282 free full text article

Yahoo News March 7, 2005

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