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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. February 11 , 2007

Welcome to USAAA Weekly News, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome.


This week in the News - CDC autism prevalence report

If you missed the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that finds that autism is more prevalent than ever before estimated, affecting roughly 1 in 150 American children, you were either in another country where you didn't have access to the Internet, or you were on vacation mimicking the Corona commercials that recently appeared during the Super Bowl time outs. The news appeared everywhere, in newspapers, television and radio. The problem was, that in many cases, the story was buried.

Enter the words MMRW (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), CDC, and autism in Google. What appears is the MMRW home page that even positions the autism prevalence studies as the third story behind "Unintentional Poisoning Deaths," and "Indicators for Occupational Health Surveillance." If the report, from the CDC, on autism states that "ASDs are more common than previously thought and are conditions of urgent public health concern," and is considered less important that recreational drug use with a prevalence of 7.1 in 100,000 population, then it may be difficult for the news media to understand the significance of the autism epidemic. Ironically, the autism prevalence report appears directly across from the recommended immunization schedule for persons aged 0-18 years. Is the placement ironic or is it a carefully planned position on this page?

Let's look at some of the headlines and comments from different media sources from this past week.

  • ABC News, "Autism: What's in a Number?", identified that the Washington Post had the report on page A6, The New York Times on page A12. Gary Langer from ABC news says, "...before we blame the media [on the positioning of the story], we might take a look at the source of the confusion — the news conference the CDC held to announce the study Thursday."
  • KOMOTV.com, Seattle, Washington, "Study: Autism on the rise; state urged to take action." In Washington state, the numbers are similar to the national findings. The University of Washington's Autism Center is known as a leader in both diagnosis and treatment, but Dr. King says there are not nearly enough services for everyone. "We've known that this is a problem for a long time and we still have the waiting lists, we still have the lines," he said.
  • Tuscaloosanews.com, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, "Experts: State autism higher than listed." Centers for Disease Control survey showed that the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among 8-year-olds in Alabama was 3.3 per 1,000 compared to a national average of 6.6 per 1,000. The medical professionals said the state’s numbers were low because researchers had access only to health department records, while most of the other states allowed use of education department records as well. They said Alabama also has fewer autism programs than the other states, limiting the information available. University of Alabama at Birmingham professor Russell Kirby, [who] organized Alabama’s data collection for the study, said Alabama education officials cited privacy laws in not allowing access to their records. “We’re fairly well convinced that we missed a lot of cases because of our inability to review records in schools," Kirby said.
  • nj.com, The Star Ledger, New Jersey, "Study: N.J. leads nation in rate of child autism." New Jersey leads the nation in child autism rates, according to a study that examined at the prevalence of the disorder across the country. An estimated one in 60 boys are diagnosed with autism in the state."
  • Deseret News, Provo, Utah, "Utah autism rate among highest; increases twentyfold in 20 years." "With numbers like this, I think it qualifies as an urgent public health concern," said Judith Zimmerman, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the U. [University of Utah].
  • Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, "'Wake-Up Call' on Autism: Study shows dramatic growth in syndrome." In Utah alone, the study revealed, 1 in 133 children have an ASD - the third highest rate among the 14 U.S. sites that gathered data. Boys in Utah, the study revealed, are six-and-a-half times more likely to have autism than girls. About 1 in 79 boys have it, compared to 1 in 500 girls.
  • newswise.com, from the University of Indianapolis, "Increases in Autism Rates Not Surprising to Education Expert." “We have seen the rates of autism increase dramatically over the last seven years,” notes Dr. John Somers, director of graduate programs and coordinator of special education in UIndy’s School of Education. The rise in autism cases puts intense pressure on schools to meet the needs of autistic children. “Schools are reeling today to accommodate the needs of the increasing number of children diagnosed with autism,” Somers explains. “Because students with autism embody a multitude of needs and services (special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, physical and occupational therapists, etc.), the increase is overwhelming and we do not have enough school personnel trained in this area to deliver much needed services.”
  • Medicalnewstoday.com, "National Autism Association Renews Call For CDC To Declare Autism A National Emergency." "While it's nice that the CDC has shared these findings with the public, they must move forward with a plan to treat the children suffering with autism now," said NAA board chair Claire Bothwell. "This agency has yet to answer the question, 'Why are so many children sick?' If this were an epidemic of practically any other disease among the children of this country, they would have long since investigated how it could have happened and made earnest attempts to find treatments."

Quotes from the CDC autism prevalence report
Underestimation of prevalence

The following are quotes from the CDC’s publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Surveillance Summaries February 9, 2007 / 56(SS01);12-28.

  • Three of the four sites that had limited or no access to special education records (Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) had the lowest three estimates of ASD prevalence....Thus, 85% of potential records were not reviewed.
  • The percentage of children with ASDs that received special education services with an autism special education eligibility ranged from 31% in Colorado to 74% in Maryland.

  • Variability in prevalence among sites is likely attributable to differences in access to records at all sources, evaluation practices, and the resulting level of detail in records.

  • The majority of sites did not include private schools, charter schools, and clinical providers or service centers...have contributed in some manner to underestimation of prevalence.

  • Access to information from both health and education sources appears essential for obtaining accurate prevalence and to the success of records-based ASD monitoring in the United States.

  • Sensitivity analyses conducted by all sites determined that files that were eligible for review but not located contributed to an underestimate in prevalence. Because of unfound files, prevalence might have been underestimated by up to 15% in two sites (Maryland and Pennsylvania), and as high as 20% in South Carolina.

  • ASDs are more common then previously thought and are conditions of urgent public health concern.


Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress 2007, March 1-4, nearly sold out
The conference is now available to view LIVE by you from anywhere in the world via online webcasting

Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress 2007, hosted at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, March 1-4, is nearly sold out. Click here for more information about registration.

Keynote speakers at the conference include Dr. Temple Grandin, who is inarguably the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world; Dr. Andrew Wakefield, an academic gastroenterologist whose main focus of research is an investigation of the immunologic, metabolic, and pathologic changes occurring in inflammatory bowel diseases such as autistic enterocolitis, and the potential relationship of these conditions to environmental causes, such as childhood vaccines; and, Shannon Kenitz, Executive Director of the International Hyperbarics Association, who knows firsthand the heartbreak and struggles of having a child with a disability.

Other notable speakers are Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, Dr. Teresa Bolick, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, Dr. Diane Twachtman-Cullen, Dr. Phillip DeMio, Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, Stan Kurtz, Dr. Barry Prizant, Dr. William Shaw, Stephen Shore, Dr. Lauren Underwood, Dr. Dan Rossignol, Dr. Sarah-Monique Williams, Ed Kaleolani Spencer, and Julia Berle who is mother to a child who recovered from autism.

If you are unable to attend the conference in Vancouver, consider watching the conference live via online webcasting. Access to the conference will be available for a 30 day viewing pass, so you can watch it at your leisure. For more information, click here.


"Mozart of Jazz" to perform at Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress
Matt Savage, an autistic 15 year old gifted and talented musician, who is changing the face of jazz, will showcase at Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress, Saturday night, March 3

Matt Savage, a fifteen year old professional jazz pianist, will perform a 90 minute concert with his Trio at the Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress, Saturday evening, March 3rd, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver, BC.

For ticket information, call 1-866-928-8476.

 


Rett Syndrome Symptoms Reversed in this debilitating Autism Spectrum Disorder - Mice Study

A landmark study has been announced with the successful ability to reverse symptoms in Rett Syndrome in a genetic mouse model. This announcement comes from the Rett Syndrome Research Foundation (RSRF) and the study was led by by Adrian Bird, Ph.D., of the University of Edinburgh and Chairman of the RSRF Scientific Advisory Board. The study appeared in the February 8th online edition of Science Express.l

Click here for entire story.


Autism Insurance Coverage: Governor Makes Pledge
WKOW, Madison, Wisconsin

For the parents of autistic children, the road to recovery can be tedious, frustrating, and expensive. But Governor Jim Doyle announced that he wants to require insurance companies to pay for autism-related therapy.

Wisconsin Early Autism Project founder Tamlynn Graupner became overwhelmed when she heard the news. That's because Graupner says early and intense intervention is crucial to recovery. But many children in Wisconsin don't have that option, and are forced on a wait list for services, which runs about a year long. Many insurance companies refuse to cover autism therapy because the state has funding for therapy programs. But because of the wait list, many kids can't get therapy right away. The governor will introduce this measure when he offers his budget to the legislature next week.


The dangers of electropollution
by Joy Carlson
The Napa Valley Register
February 6, 2007

It is an invisible danger that has no sound or smell but is creating chaos with all of our cells. In less than two decades, one third of the global village has embraced this new technology, spawning the multi-million dollar wireless communications industry. From cell phones to hot spots to entire wireless cities, rarely has a technology so rapidly and so profoundly transformed the world. The explosion of wireless technology has brought with it a totally new form of dangerous radiation called electropollution. Humanity is now exposed to more than 100 million times more radiation than just two decades ago.

...Many scientists and some doctors are now trying to get the word out that we are now starting to see genetic damage that is weakening our children’s cells, thus causing many more health challenges such as autism.

Click here for entire story.

In This Issue :
This week in the News - CDC autism prevalence report

Quotes from the CDC autism prevalence report
Underestimation of prevalence

Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress 2007, March 1-4, nearly sold out
The conference is now available to view LIVE by you from anywhere in the world via online webcasting

"Mozart of Jazz" to perform at Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress
Matt Savage, an autistic 15 year old gifted and talented musician, who is changing the face of jazz, will showcase at Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress, Saturday night, March 3

Rett Syndrome Symptoms Reversed in this debilitating Autism Spectrum Disorder - Mice Study

Autism Insurance Coverage: Governor Makes Pledge

The dangers of electropollution
by Joy Carlson


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Inbox Readers' Comments are opinions from our subscribers. USAAA is not responsible for the content, accuracy or opinions expressed in this section.

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Waiting Lists

Did you know that there are over 300 children with autism spectrum disorder that are on waiting lists of autism schools and special education classes in the state of Utah. There are only about a dozen slots that can be filled this year.

According to Autism Council member Cheryl Smith, "We need to contact our legislators and ask them what they are going to do to support, maintain, and implement programs for the people with autism in the state of Utah. Not only do we lack in programs and funding for early intervention, but also programs for school aged children, adults, research, and surveillance.

1. If you don't know your legislators, go to www.vote-smart.org and enter your zip code.
2. For Utahns, the legislative website www.le.state.ut.us has all the email addresses. Look up their telephone number and give them a call.

For your state legislature, go to Google.com and enter "state legislators". Some of the state legislator sites are as follows:
http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/
http://www.legis.state.wi.us/

http://www.legis.state.la.us/

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

More Comments

“We are truly in the midst of an epidemic,” stated SafeMinds president Lyn Redwood, RN. “The 6.7 prevalence is ten times higher than that reported in studies before the 1990s. A 10% increase from 1992 to 1994 indicates that rates were rising in the 1990s. The period from 1990 to 1994 coincided with the rapid expansion in the use of mercury-containing vaccines for infants, specifically the Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccines, and the addition of Rho-D injections during pregnancy for mothers with RH negative blood type.”

The CDC study reported variations between geographic areas in the rate of ASD, from 3.3 per 1,000 in Alabama to 10.6 per 1,000 in New Jersey. The agency could not account for the differences. Although some autism researchers have claimed that autism is a purely genetic disorder, the differences in prevalence over time and over geography are consistent with an environmental factor such as mercury also playing a role in the cause of autism. A purely genetic disorder would have more consistent prevalence rates.

Redwood pointed out that the CDC delayed reporting prevalence for children born in 1992 until today, even though they collected this data back in 2000. “Their lack of urgency in responding to the autism crisis is concerning. Families and individuals with autism deserve more rapid action and accountability.”

   

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