The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime

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It seems that from around the 1990's to present, there has been a seemingly unreasonable increase in the diagnosis of Autism and its variants in children. Many learned minds have tried to find the cause -- people have looked at Thimerosal (a mercury compound used as a preservative in vaccines) and as a result of public pressure, this has been dropped from use despite the fact that it was effective and had no known health issues. Other learned minds decided to take a bit of a larger view and came up with this. From Reuters/Health:
Study suggests rise in autism cases may not be real
A rise in autism cases is not evidence of a feared epidemic but reflects that schools are diagnosing autism more frequently, a study said on Monday.

Children classified by U.S. school special education programs as mentally retarded or learning disabled have declined in tandem with the rise in autism cases between 1994 and 2003, the author of the study said, suggesting a switch of diagnoses.

Government health authorities have been trying to allay widely publicized concerns that vaccines containing the mercury-containing preservative therimerosal, which is no longer used, were behind an autism epidemic.

There may be as yet unknown environmental triggers behind autism, study author Paul Shattuck of the University of Wisconsin at Madison said, but his research suggested the past decade's rise in autism cases was more of a labeling issue.

Autism was fully recognized in 1994 by all U.S. states as a behavioral classification for schoolchildren, who receive individualized attention whatever their diagnosis, he wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

Subsequent increases in the number of autism cases have varied widely by state but the average prevalence among 6- to 11-year-olds enrolled in special education programs increased from 0.6 per 1,000 pupils in 1994 to 3.1 per 1,000 in 2003.

During the same period, diagnoses of mental retardation fell by 2.8 per 1,000 students and diagnoses of learning disabilities dropped by 8.3 per 1,000 students.
And the curious incident was that the dog did not bark. For Sherlock Holmes, this solved a case of theft. For our children, this solves many cases of mis-diagnosis; there is no rising tide of Autism, there is only a more accurate Medical System. And your problem is?

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on April 2, 2006 11:09 PM.

Something wicked this way comes was the previous entry in this blog.

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