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idntonkw
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14 Nov 2020, 4:54 am

MrsPeel wrote:
I'm a bit nervous about posting this as my view may be controversial.
However, I feel this is an important topic for consideration.
(Hoping for a discussion, but please don't attack me?)

We all know how autism rates have risen drastically (and probably globally) over the last 40 years or so.
Many with and without AS are denying that anything much has changed apart from improvements in diagnosis, and/or over-diagnosis (for instance to secure government assistance), and/or widespread autism diagnoses in those who might previously have been deemed "mentally retarded". I agree that all of those occur.

However, there's been a study that tried to correct for all those factors and concluded that they could not account for all the increase. I am personally inclined to agree that with such rapid increases globally, something else may be going on.

I've read studies that have shown correlation between environmental toxins - in particular insecticides, heavy metals and even tobacco smoke - and higher rates of autism in the children (or even grandchildren) of those exposed. Here we are talking especially about the more severe forms of classic autism rather than the Asperger type. Nobody is saying that these toxins are the sole cause autism, it seems to be more that they can sometimes trigger autism, or increase the severity of autism, in those with a genetic susceptibility. Certainly, it is feasible that accumulation of environmental toxins or other factors within the modern environment may be connected to rising rates of autism diagnosis.

A little aside here.
My father was a teacher, though he is retired now, but he's always been great with kids. He knows all the tricks of how to keep a class of unruly kids under control and spark their interest in the topic at hand.
When I observed him with his step-grandson who has classic autism though, he was way out of his depth. I could see that he was baffled to find that all his usual techniques were not working to maintain the sort of behaviour he was expecting. He got flustered and impatient.
Although this was only one personal observation, I think it is significant to see a competent teacher with about 45 years' experience having no clear idea how to deal with one autistic kid. He obviously had very little experience in that regard, which would be unlikely if historical prevalence had been as high as today.

The point I'm trying to make here is this.
By dismissing those who worry about the autism "epidemic", we may be denying a very real problem.
If in fact it is true that there has been a real increase in autism, or a real increase in the more severe forms of autism, society needs to be taking steps to address that.

At least, as I've alluded to above, there is an urgent need for teachers, healthcare workers, police and so on - anyone in a position of authority who is likely to have contact with autistics - to be provided the training and tools to be able to handle autistic people with understanding and respect.

And perhaps there is a need for more research into possible causes of the increase? I'm not talking about research to eliminate the natural genetic variations underlying autism (which I believe to be an important contributor to human genetic diversity), so much as that focused on understanding environmental triggers so as to prevent as far as possible some of the more severe forms, which can be really disabling.

My concern is that attributing rising rates of autism only to changes in diagnostic criteria could be harmful. Perhaps, by effectively saying "hey, we've always been here", we might be weakening the impetus that might otherwise be generated towards addressing the increasing needs of autistics within society.

Well, just putting that out for discussion.


I agree. More autistic kids due to something else. Perhaps humans had evolved to be better with science and technology, so autistic brain became more common. Or plastic contamination.



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14 Nov 2020, 5:29 am

firemonkey wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
I can neither agree, nor disagree. We just dont know.

Science is still trying to figure out what exactly autism is, and what it is not. The boundary line was expanded hugely in 1994 to include far more people than before. I am a text book example. The shrink I went to had never even heard of aspergers until my family members mentioned it to her, and she had to read up about it. And that was in the early 2000s (almost a decade after aspergers had been put into the DSM).

And one whole gender (half of the human race) was practically left out: females. They are only now getting good at finding autism in females.

But it is not impossible that there is something real hiding inside all of the noise. Its as hard to disprove that autism is increase is growing as it is prove that it is.

I had a hypothesis that it might be caused by the fact that more and more folks meet their spouses in college over the last three or four generations. Geniuses meet other geniuses in college and get a double dose of genes, and this causes more geniuses to be born, but it migh also more autistics to be born.Just a speculation.

The older parents theory might be the plausible.

Or maybe there is no autism epidemic after all.


Genius= 145 IQ = 99.8650032777% 741
= 160 IQ = 99.9968313965% 31560

https://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/iqtable.aspx

An article that suggests that those with Asperger's don't have the creativity to be geniuses.

http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.com ... rgers.html

I am not saying the author is right or wrong. I'm just adding it for possible further discussion.


Not sure what your point is. I didnt say "aspies are geniuses".

I am suggesting that both an increase in the number of autistic children ( who are not necessarily geniuses), and increase in the number of genius children (who are not necessarily autistic) result when lots of high IQ folks are able to find equally high IQ mates from great distances (rather than settling for lower IQ mates from around their home towns).

Also if the article says that no aspies are geniuses then the article would be just as wrong as I wouldve been if I HAD said that "all aspies are geniuses". Clearly some members of both groups are also in other group (geniuses and autistics).



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14 Nov 2020, 3:32 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
firemonkey wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
I can neither agree, nor disagree. We just dont know.

Science is still trying to figure out what exactly autism is, and what it is not. The boundary line was expanded hugely in 1994 to include far more people than before. I am a text book example. The shrink I went to had never even heard of aspergers until my family members mentioned it to her, and she had to read up about it. And that was in the early 2000s (almost a decade after aspergers had been put into the DSM).

And one whole gender (half of the human race) was practically left out: females. They are only now getting good at finding autism in females.

But it is not impossible that there is something real hiding inside all of the noise. Its as hard to disprove that autism is increase is growing as it is prove that it is.

I had a hypothesis that it might be caused by the fact that more and more folks meet their spouses in college over the last three or four generations. Geniuses meet other geniuses in college and get a double dose of genes, and this causes more geniuses to be born, but it migh also more autistics to be born.Just a speculation.

The older parents theory might be the plausible.

Or maybe there is no autism epidemic after all.


Genius= 145 IQ = 99.8650032777% 741
= 160 IQ = 99.9968313965% 31560

https://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/iqtable.aspx

An article that suggests that those with Asperger's don't have the creativity to be geniuses.

http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.com ... rgers.html

I am not saying the author is right or wrong. I'm just adding it for possible further discussion.


Not sure what your point is. I didnt say "aspies are geniuses".

I am suggesting that both an increase in the number of autistic children ( who are not necessarily geniuses), and increase in the number of genius children (who are not necessarily autistic) result when lots of high IQ folks are able to find equally high IQ mates from great distances (rather than settling for lower IQ mates from around their home towns).

Also if the article says that no aspies are geniuses then the article would be just as wrong as I wouldve been if I HAD said that "all aspies are geniuses". Clearly some members of both groups are also in other group (geniuses and autistics).


Ive heard this before someone used the term geeks get lucky :D



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15 Nov 2020, 5:46 pm

I simply thought of autism epidemic as humanity's global warning. :twisted:

Than humanity being warned of autism global epidemic. :lol:


I simply speculate it's not as simple as a group of traits, group of circumstances (pre-natal/natal/post-natal), group of genes or sets of conditions, nor the improving group of qualifications.




Edit: Words and wording. Sigh.


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17 Nov 2020, 4:49 am

Initially posted in the wrong topic in error:-

Maybe it’s something our grandparents did, the power of epigenetics :-

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=k4LezkjNwnY



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17 Nov 2020, 4:00 pm

That is really interesting, thanks!

I actually had a bit of a lightbulb moment listening to that, as second-generational epigentic effects might well explain my own autism. My maternal grandmother was a heavy smoker and almost certainly smoked while pregnant with my mother. So there may well have been an effect on my mother's developing ova - which became me.

I wonder how far these effects are going to spread down the generations? I've found my own kids seem to be more severely affected than myself, my son having a troublesome degree of Apergers-type autism with comorbid anxiety and my daughter having severe dyslexia and issues with attention deficit and emotional regulation. So neither could be said to have "normal" neurological development.

There's been a recent study showing connection to maternal pesticide exposures during pregnancy, which may also be an epigentic effect:
https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l962

I was quite surprised that transgenerational epigenetic effects have not been studied more, there seemed to be very few studies out there looking at this. The answer to the explosive increase in autism may well be found there, but not many people are actually looking, it seems.

As Jill Escher points out in that video, Thalidomide damage was very specific and visibly obvious and so easier to identify the cause and do something about it. Whereas autism seems to be non-specific, as in it can be related back to a variety of possible exposures, and as a neurodevelopmental disorder is less outwardly visible. So it is harder to get the impetus going to identify the connection to environmental exposures and investigate causes.



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17 Nov 2020, 4:09 pm

naturalplastic wrote:

Not sure what your point is. I didnt say "aspies are geniuses".

I am suggesting that both an increase in the number of autistic children ( who are not necessarily geniuses), and increase in the number of genius children (who are not necessarily autistic) result when lots of high IQ folks are able to find equally high IQ mates from great distances (rather than settling for lower IQ mates from around their home towns).

Also if the article says that no aspies are geniuses then the article would be just as wrong as I wouldve been if I HAD said that "all aspies are geniuses". Clearly some members of both groups are also in other group (geniuses and autistics).


That's a good point.
I've seen a study which does make a connection between intelligence and autism. I believe it was suggesting that the genes for high IQ are related to those for autism. (I'm inferring this to mean the Asperger-type autism which seems to be highly heritable, rather than the more severe types of autism caused by de novo genetic mutations or high levels of toxic exposures).



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18 Nov 2020, 5:20 am

MrsPeel wrote:
That is really interesting, thanks!

I actually had a bit of a lightbulb moment listening to that, as second-generational epigentic effects might well explain my own autism. My maternal grandmother was a heavy smoker and almost certainly smoked while pregnant with my mother. So there may well have been an effect on my mother's developing ova - which became me.

I wonder how far these effects are going to spread down the generations? I've found my own kids seem to be more severely affected than myself, my son having a troublesome degree of Apergers-type autism with comorbid anxiety and my daughter having severe dyslexia and issues with attention deficit and emotional regulation. So neither could be said to have "normal" neurological development.

There's been a recent study showing connection to maternal pesticide exposures during pregnancy, which may also be an epigentic effect:
https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l962

I was quite surprised that transgenerational epigenetic effects have not been studied more, there seemed to be very few studies out there looking at this. The answer to the explosive increase in autism may well be found there, but not many people are actually looking, it seems.

As Jill Escher points out in that video, Thalidomide damage was very specific and visibly obvious and so easier to identify the cause and do something about it. Whereas autism seems to be non-specific, as in it can be related back to a variety of possible exposures, and as a neurodevelopmental disorder is less outwardly visible. So it is harder to get the impetus going to identify the connection to environmental exposures and investigate causes.


Thanks its an emerging area of genetics, one that has been overlooked until now.

The genetic scientist in the video confirms autism rates have definitely gone up that isn’t just better diagnosis

In terms of what causes damage there are plenty of potential culprits but would it be acted on is another thing?. Its easy to ban one drug like Thalidomide, but other things like pesticide or mobile mask positioning that hurt business profits are too tricky and political.

I could imagine the authorities dragging their feet, I guess it’s a risk / benefit ratio, while autism rates are manageable no one needs to do anything & they can blame better diagnosis but if they accelerate again to the point where it cannot be ignored, they would have to answer some serious questions.

It is true that some autism genes are linked to high intelligence, the problem is its in NT wider family members rather than the autistic child. A large number of people with classic autism are intellectually disabled



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18 Nov 2020, 6:21 am

carlos55 wrote:
[
The genetic scientist in the video confirms autism rates have definitely gone up that isn’t just better diagnosis


Yeah, but unfortunately from the video alone there's no way to check her data source, we'd just be taking her word for it. And I think she said she's not exactly a genetic scientist. So we probably can't take that as a definite confirmation without more information.



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18 Nov 2020, 7:55 am

MrsPeel wrote:
carlos55 wrote:
[
The genetic scientist in the video confirms autism rates have definitely gone up that isn’t just better diagnosis


Yeah, but unfortunately from the video alone there's no way to check her data source, we'd just be taking her word for it. And I think she said she's not exactly a genetic scientist. So we probably can't take that as a definite confirmation without more information.



Different scientists have different opinions, like anything else.

There is also political pressure from Neurodiversity advocates to claim autism is a natural difference & autistic people being born has remained constant, so to say autism cases have gone up kind of admits that autism is an unnatural disorder, something they will never do.

There are plenty of non-scientific advocate websites promoting this self comforting natural difference view across the internet, probably more now than anti vax sites.

Although scientists ignore these people, they still tend to be cautious & polite so don’t expect a big loud debunking by them if rises are gradual and can be lazily blamed on better diagnosis

Many people however say there is an observational increase in the numbers of young kids under the age of 5, that have very obvious signs of neurological disorder, such as non-verbal, intellectual disability and behaviour, unlike apsie kids like myself that were invisible until the teenage years.

Through the white noise we regularly hear the same stories from old doctors and teachers, they simply rarely ever saw these kinds of kids. This article goes into that in more detail.

https://www.ncsautism.org/blog?offset=1592424134417



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18 Nov 2020, 8:42 am

carlos55 wrote:
MrsPeel wrote:
carlos55 wrote:
[
The genetic scientist in the video confirms autism rates have definitely gone up that isn’t just better diagnosis


Yeah, but unfortunately from the video alone there's no way to check her data source, we'd just be taking her word for it. And I think she said she's not exactly a genetic scientist. So we probably can't take that as a definite confirmation without more information.



Different scientists have different opinions, like anything else.

There is also political pressure from Neurodiversity advocates to claim autism is a natural difference & autistic people being born has remained constant, so to say autism cases have gone up kind of admits that autism is an unnatural disorder, something they will never do.

There are plenty of non-scientific advocate websites promoting this self comforting natural difference view across the internet, probably more now than anti vax sites.

Although scientists ignore these people, they still tend to be cautious & polite so don’t expect a big loud debunking by them if rises are gradual and can be lazily blamed on better diagnosis

Many people however say there is an observational increase in the numbers of young kids under the age of 5, that have very obvious signs of neurological disorder, such as non-verbal, intellectual disability and behaviour, unlike apsie kids like myself that were invisible until the teenage years.

Through the white noise we regularly hear the same stories from old doctors and teachers, they simply rarely ever saw these kinds of kids. This article goes into that in more detail.

https://www.ncsautism.org/blog?offset=1592424134417



This stands out for me.


Quote:
An analysis should eschew any fixation about labels and instead focus on objective, qualitative measures, such as that for adaptive functioning. Measurement of skills needed in normal daily living is, after all, the essential nub of the autism crisis today — our concern is for the growing ranks of mentally disabled children who will never be able to care for themselves (no matter what the diagnostic label). There are also ways to objectively measure intellectual skills, communication and language skills, capacity for abstract thought, and social skills, among others.



I'm not 'mentally disabled'(as used in the article) but do have a noticeable gap between my level of intelligence and those skills needed for 'normal daily living'. That has largely gone under the radar. Historically failure to do things as expected has resulted in much criticism,. It could be said that very high verbal skills, that dominate in short interactions with people, result in the failure of professionals to see, and acknowledge, very real problems. At the end of the day the failure to provide adequate help for such problems whether having Autism with ID -or like myself, results in the failure to reach one's full potential.


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19 Nov 2020, 3:37 am

carlos55 wrote:
Different scientists have different opinions, like anything else.

There is also political pressure from Neurodiversity advocates to claim autism is a natural difference & autistic people being born has remained constant, so to say autism cases have gone up kind of admits that autism is an unnatural disorder, something they will never do.

There are plenty of non-scientific advocate websites promoting this self comforting natural difference view across the internet, probably more now than anti vax sites.

Although scientists ignore these people, they still tend to be cautious & polite so don’t expect a big loud debunking by them if rises are gradual and can be lazily blamed on better diagnosis

Many people however say there is an observational increase in the numbers of young kids under the age of 5, that have very obvious signs of neurological disorder, such as non-verbal, intellectual disability and behaviour, unlike apsie kids like myself that were invisible until the teenage years.

Through the white noise we regularly hear the same stories from old doctors and teachers, they simply rarely ever saw these kinds of kids. This article goes into that in more detail.

https://www.ncsautism.org/blog?offset=1592424134417


That blog post was interesting, thank you.

I noted that it was by the same person as the previous video, Jill Escher.
This is the frustrating thing, that we are hearing only one person questioning the prevailing notion that autism increases are not 'real' but due to changes in diagnostic practice.

This speaks to my concern in this thread. Why are there not more studies trying to understand the truth behind the autism prevalence figures? Are people afraid that to do so would challenge the neurodiversity paradigm? Or are there too many vested interests in assuming environmental effects are insignificant, so we can stick to 'business as normal'?

Perhaps the prevailing notion that the autism increase is not 'real' is the correct one - but can anyone justify that? Apart from a general acknowledgement that the diagnostis have broadened - where is the evidence that this accounts for the increase?

Surely this is deserving of more study.



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19 Nov 2020, 1:26 pm

carlos55 wrote:
MrsPeel wrote:
carlos55 wrote:
[
The genetic scientist in the video confirms autism rates have definitely gone up that isn’t just better diagnosis


Yeah, but unfortunately from the video alone there's no way to check her data source, we'd just be taking her word for it. And I think she said she's not exactly a genetic scientist. So we probably can't take that as a definite confirmation without more information.



Different scientists have different opinions, like anything else.

There is also political pressure from Neurodiversity advocates to claim autism is a natural difference & autistic people being born has remained constant, so to say autism cases have gone up kind of admits that autism is an unnatural disorder, something they will never do.

There are plenty of non-scientific advocate websites promoting this self comforting natural difference view across the internet, probably more now than anti vax sites.

Although scientists ignore these people, they still tend to be cautious & polite so don’t expect a big loud debunking by them if rises are gradual and can be lazily blamed on better diagnosis

Many people however say there is an observational increase in the numbers of young kids under the age of 5, that have very obvious signs of neurological disorder, such as non-verbal, intellectual disability and behaviour, unlike apsie kids like myself that were invisible until the teenage years.

Through the white noise we regularly hear the same stories from old doctors and teachers, they simply rarely ever saw these kinds of kids. This article goes into that in more detail.

https://www.ncsautism.org/blog?offset=1592424134417

I did not encounter any truly intellectually disabled people in my school during the 1960s because they did not have to and did not take them. There were "slow" kids who repeated grades and went to classes designed for "slow" children. There were kids. There were one or two kids per class that fit the "aspie" stereotype, intelligent, clumsy, socially awkward, talked too much about their interests that nobody else was interested in(or "painfully shy"), etc. Of course, all of them were not autistic but some of them probably were. It is always fraught to diagnose or undiagnose people from a different era. Words may have had different, meanings, or similar but not meanings the same meanings. People had different attitudes towards the same thing.

As far as resistance by ND advocates, environmental factors have usually been theorized as poison causing negative mutations. Nobody likes to think of themselves as literal mutants in a bad way.


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19 Nov 2020, 2:18 pm

I had the same experience as you in the 80`s AsPartOfMe, i met a few aspie kids but not what i would call classic autism. Of course there was my cousin & many such kids would have gone to special schools but was there as many i dont think so.

Coincidently there is an article in todays Off Guardian regarding modern pesticides and danger to health. Not specifically just autism but many other things, worth a read.

https://off-guardian.org/2020/11/18/cri ... in-the-uk/



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20 Nov 2020, 4:38 am

Going back to what was being discussed earlier in this thread.

Inheritance plays different roles in autism with and without intellectual disability

Quote:
Autism with intellectual disability is less heritable than autism alone, according to a new study of how the conditions run in extended families.

About a third of autistic people have intellectual disability (ID) — an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 70 or less. Autistic people with lower IQs are more likely to have spontaneous, or de novo, gene mutations than autistic people with higher IQs, studies show, suggesting that the genetic underpinnings of autism with ID differ from those of autism alone.

The new work supports that theory with a different line of evidence, says lead investigator Brian Lee, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

His team examined rates of autism with and without ID in a large population dataset. The work is part of a broader effort to understand whether there are distinct forms of autism and, if so, how their underlying causes may differ.

“I think where this is taking us is the idea that not all autisms are the same,” Lee says.

The researchers tapped the Stockholm Youth Cohort to analyze diagnostic records from 567,436 people born in Sweden from 1984 to 2009; 8,354 have autism alone, and 2,566 have autism with ID. They also checked national registries to find out whether any of the participants’ parents, siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins have an autism diagnosis.

The researchers did not include data on whether the relatives have intellectual disability — in part because the two conditions could have different diagnosis patterns over time, confounding the results, Lee says.

The kin of people with autism alone are more likely to be autistic than are those of people with autism and ID, the study shows.

A person with an autistic mother is nearly 20 times as likely as one without to have autism alone, and 11 times as likely to have both autism and ID.

Overall, heritability accounted for 65 percent of the odds of having autism autism alone, and 33 percent of the odds for autism with ID.

It’s possible that environmental factors are more severe in people with ID, Lee says.

The study design is an “innovative” use of “a really rare dataset,” says Tinca J.C. Polderman, associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Amsterdam UMC in the Netherlands, who was not involved in the work.

“This is a very well conducted study, with a powerful sample size,” Polderman says.

It’s important that the study included people with ID, who tend to be “neglected” in many larger studies, says Dorret Boomsma, professor of biological psychology at Vrije University in Amsterdam, who was not involved in the work.


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20 Nov 2020, 5:09 am

Yes, I'd even noticed here on WP, that it is often the asperger-type autists who can point to many others in their families with traits or high functioning autism. Whereas some of those diagnosed with classic or moderate level autism (thoiugh not necessarily with ID) are the only one in their family. Which makes sense if the one kind is inherited and the other due to de novo mutations.

My concern in this thread is mainly over whether the numbers of those with moderate or severe level autism or autism with ID have increased, as these conditions can really affect ability to function independently in society.