Tag Archives | study

Latest research suggests that antidepressants are causing fish to be autistic

autistic fish

Autistic fish?

A new study coming out of NewScientist.com says Antidepressants in water trigger autism genes in fish and suggests “only 324 genes associated with autism in humans appeared to be significantly altered” due to there being antidepressants in the water.

First of all, I’m no scientist so I’d probably sound pretty funny to one when I ask exactly what genes or parts of the brain in a fish can so closely resemble that of a human that they could be absolutely certain. I’ve sounded pretty funny asking dumber questions though.

The “well, isn’t that just ironic” part of me finds it to be perfectly laughable when you consider how many years and how many doctors prescribed antidepressants as a treatment for autism. If the stuff diluted in water can trigger it… what does the concentrated stuff do to people/kids that already have autism?

Not that it matters much since new studies have found that antidepressants don’t really work as a method for treatment for autism anyway.

Which would make sense if this fish thing actually does hold water. Ooh… bad expression to use.

Somehow, fish in autism just seems extremely odd. Even more so than when scientist worked to re-create autism in mice.

Granted, it is extremely important to continue the work to discover the cause, or maybe not what causes it, rather what is the fundamental difference in people that makes one autistic or not autistic… still though, I can’t help but feel that they’re really stretching for answers with studies such as this.

I would love to be in a boardroom when someone says “how about we spend tons of money and see if these drugs make these fish autistic” and the people with money go “Sure! Great idea!”

Because I can’t get money for much of anything around my house and that person sounds like someone I really need to learn from.

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Please be careful what you take away from the news or other media sources

Recently, a study was rehashed (it’s been done before) stating that intelligent people that have babies are more likely to have children with Autism than other parents.

This irks me for many reasons, which I will get into in a bit but there’s a bigger problem and that’s the spin that the media puts on stories like this.

Here are just a few of the headlines around the internet all reporting the exact same study:

  • Couple who meet at work have autistic babies?
  • Rise in autism ‘may be linked to clever parents’
  • Autism: The Result of Math Whiz X 2?
  • Intelligent Parents Have Higher Risk of Having an Autistic Child
  • Couples in Science Field at Risk of Having Autistic Children
  • Is the changing role of women in our society behind the rise in autism in the past 30 years?

Do you see the differences?

Where to begin?

First of all, let’s go back to Wired Magazine, circa 2001: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers.html

That’s right… 10 years ago.

That means that if this truly is a new study, it’s a study that people have now spent money on twice to come up with the same result. That’s not really a bad thing as it may reinforce the findings, meaning it’s more likely true. The problem is that neither of these studies dig deep enough to come up with real answers.

Being smart is pretty vague. Which is where the assortment of headlines come from… is it math? Science? Both working at the same place? What if only one of the parents is smart? What if the parents are super smart??

Women’s Lib?

For those of you who had to read the last headline twice to believe it really said what it said… the article itself doesn’t get any better.

Here is a paragraph from that article:

Until relatively recently in our history, being exceptionally bright was not much use to you if you were female. In Victorian Britain, for example, the opportunities for a woman to earn her living through brainpower alone were extremely limited.

Essentially, this news source revisits the old “refrigerator mom” theory of Autism, where it was believed that mothers that were cold towards their children somehow caused it in them. Only, in this case, it’s the evolution of women becoming smart (because they weren’t smart before?!?!) is the cause.

If only women had stayed in the kitchen and cooked and cleaned… we wouldn’t have this rise in Autism diagnosis rates. Right?

This particular news story puts a lot of unnecessary blame on moms.

Check your sources

If it’s not obvious enough yet that news sources spin stories as they see fit, then I’d suggest you stop reading the news.

Again, all of these headlines come from the same original source… a study that says that Autism diagnosis rates are higher than average when both parents are in “higher intelligence” jobs such as technology, medical, science or engineering.

It does not say anything about working together, how they’d meet, which field in particular they’d work in and most certainly doesn’t put any of the blame on women for being smart.

In fact, out of the (currently) 25 news sources I’ve found on this, there is only 1 that has put this particular women’s lib spin on it. The rest talk about both parents.

The results trickle down differently depending on which news source you read… when really, everyone should be forming opinions on the story, not the spin.

Take the Women’s Views on News for example. They only read the one news source… can you guess which news source they read?

You can read their story on this here: http://www.womensviewsonnews.org/2011/11/professor-says-womens-changing-roles-to-blame-for-rise-in-autism/

Yup, they found the one that attacks women’s lib, putting the blame for Autism on women in the work force. As a result, there’s a lot of very unhappy women with the professor that came up with the theories behind the study. He didn’t even perform the study! And he certainly didn’t say anything about moms in the work force.

So a guy has a theory, a university conducts a study, the results are vague, a crappy news source puts a wild spin on it and a whole bunch of women all hate the guy that came up with the original theory.

See how that works?

The problems with this study in general

Ok, now that I have the big elephant in the room covered, let’s talk about the study itself.

Here is the way I see it.

1. Every single news source put some kind of a spin on the study in an attempt to get the most readers but not one of them explored the possibility of the parents having undiagnosed Autism themselves… or at least, somewhere in their family history.
Think about it… they’re smart, they work in the smart places (like Silicon Valley) and they get together and have children… wouldn’t it make sense that people with a history of Autism be more likely to have autistic children? If they’re truly that smart and being smart causes Autism… why couldn’t one assume that the parents might be somewhere on the spectrum?

2.  The only things that being smart has ever produced is a lack of sex life in college and a higher paying job after college. To think that two smart brains producing a baby would cause it to have genetic anomalies that produces Autism in a child is just… well, it’s a pretty big stretch of the imagination. At least, it is without the addition of some other factor, such as what I said in #1.

3. Give me 30 mins and I’ll give you 50 different studies that all have found “the cause” or at the very least, the thing that “increases the risk” of Autism. If I believed every single new study that came out, well… I’d just have to conclude that being alive causes Autism because at this point, just when I think they’ve covered everything… a new study comes out within the next week.

4. As I’ve said over and over… “smart people” is far too vague. How smart? Just clever? Did they have smart parents? Were they the first smart people in their family? What if they’re smart but don’t work in smart places? How do you explain the children with Autism for couples that don’t attend college and have no jobs?
There’s just too many holes to fill.

It’s the News job to interpret, not reproduce

The news agencies take a story and rewrite it and put it out in a way that you’ll understand and will get the most readers. It’s not their job to take a story, copy it and print it. So you’ll never get what the study actually said.

The more vague a study is, the larger the spin that can be placed on it.

When you find a new study in the news, go to http://news.google.com and look up other news sources that cover the same story, or go find the study yourself and check it out. Because reading from just one news source can be dangerous sometimes.

news spin

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Autism Study of The Month: Recurrence Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium Study

the_warner_siblings

Recurrence Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium Study

Source: http://psy2.ucsd.edu/~kdobkins/O,2011.pdf

Abstract

Objective: The recurrence risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is estimated between 3 and 10%, but previous research was limited by small sample sizes and biases related to ascertainment, reporting, and stoppage factors. This study used prospective methods to obtain an updated estimate of sibling recurrence risk for ASD.
Methods: A prospective longitudinal study of infants at risk for ASD was conducted by a multi-site international network, the Baby Siblings Research Consortium. Infants (n=664) with an older biological sibling with ASD were followed from early in life to 36 months, when they were classified as ASD or Non-ASD. An ASD classification required surpassing the cutoff of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and receiving a clinical diagnosis from an expert clinician.
Results: 18.7% of infants developed an ASD. Infant sex and the presence of more than one older affected sibling were significant predictors of ASD outcome, with an almost three-fold increase in risk for males and an additional two-fold increase in risk if there was more than one older affected sibling. In contrast, the age of the infant at study enrollment, the sex and functioning level of the infant’s older sibling, and other demographic factors did not predict ASD outcome.
Conclusions: The sibling recurrence rate of ASD is higher than suggested by previous estimates. The size of the current sample and the prospective nature of the data collection minimized many limitations of previous studies of sibling recurrence, including
ascertainment bias, stoppage, and over-reporting. Clinical implications, including genetic counseling, are discusse

Press Release from Source

You can read here: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom/newsdetail.html?key=5594&svr=http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu&table=published

Translation

Researchers studied 664 participants in the US and Canada, finding that 132 infants met the criteria for an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

54 children received a diagnosis of “Autistic Disorder”.

78 children received a diagnosis of PDD-NOS.

80% of all children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder were male.

The over all rate of Autsm was 18.7%.

The rate in which there was one older sibling with Autism was 20.1%.

The rate in which there was more than one older sibling with Autism was 32.2%.

In My Opinion

This is simply my opinion of the story, stop reading if you do not want opinions and are happy just having read the details of the original study itself.

This study does not assume any “causes” which means that, even though many people will pull a genetic association out of this, it could still imply a common environmental element to the siblings.

While a much larger study than previous studies, it is still a fraction of all families and even still, the numbers are averages. Which means that the risks will be higher than 18.7% for some families but also less than 18.7% for some families.

As I always say… there is always a risk, no matter what you do or what you know. There’s never a 0% chance.

These are studies on the risk of Autism, there are other risks such as being still born, born with cancer and so on and so forth. To add up all of the risks of all the possibilities could lead to insanity. If no one ever had a child due to risks, there would be no children.

 

“Autism Study of the Month”
The purpose of the Autism Study of the Month series is to provide unpolluted (by the media) information about the studies released at least once a month in the study of possible Autism causes or risks.
You will find links to the actual studies, get to read the “abstract” of the study and, when possible, get the PR release from the source.
When it comes to science, let’s leave the media out of it.

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Autism, Vaccines, Brains, Epidemics, Genes, Wakefield – What does it all mean?

Over the last week, I’ve been tweeting and sharing story after story which only further disproves the whole undying vaccine issue. I’m not sharing them to change anyone’s minds but rather just to share the latest news. But then today, a news story was released that forced me to question whether or not I should be trying to change minds after all.

Measles Invades The U.S.

vaccinesYes, just like last years Whooping Cough story, we have a disease returning to the U.S. that was previously all but wiped out. In this story about the measles, a family decided not to vaccinate their child, took a trip to Poland to pick up another child and brought the measles back with them. Now there are over 1000 people exposed in Utah.

Great, so they decided not to vaccinate their child… is that fair to the 999 other children that are now at risk? The article doesn’t specify but it’s safe to say that some of those children are unvaccinated as well, some may be vaccinated yet still might contract it and very likely, some children are yet too young to be vaccinated… in which case, that is a very scary scenario indeed because children that are too young are at a much higher risk of severe reactions… maybe even death.

Should I be letting that family make their own decisions or should I, in good conscience, be trying to convince that family that really should have been vaccinating their child all along? Perhaps if I (rhetorically of course) had convinced them, this could have been avoided?

I’m going to share the news stories again with you right now and this time, I want to try to show you why these stories are important. Hopefully this will help someone to make the right decision and avoid another outbreak.

Early Brain Overgrowth Linked to Autism

In this study, read more here, it is discovered that children with Autism had a brain size around 10% larger than that of children without Autism. Bigger! Why is this important? Well, first, it is an identifier… anything that helps us identify Autism in children is a plus.

Secondly, if some anti-vaccine people are correct and mercury is a big part of the blame, they’d have some very big explaining to do since one of the symptoms of mercury poisoning is Microcephaly (small head). Also, it should be noted that these are symptoms of methyl-mercury… the stuff that was used in vaccines was ethyl-mercury… which has such a short half life that it’s considered nontoxic.

Children with Autism have larger brains, not smaller heads.

‘Autism Epidemic’ Challenged by UK Study

The biggest fear pill that we’re forced to swallow in every single media/news broadcast is how much the number of Autism cases has risen in the last 20 years. This study, read more here, in the UK, decided to find out if the numbers really have been rising.

Researchers picked 618 random adults (over 16) and performed an assessment on them and what they found was that around 1% of adults did in fact fall on the spectrum.

What has happened is that many people did not know they had Autism, there was no way for them to be diagnosed as children since so very little was known about it back then. And adults today, even if they still feel as though they don’t fit in, find no reason what so ever to question it nor do they see any reason in getting a diagnosis as it would serve no purpose. They’d have the piece of paper but that’s it.

If 1 in 100 people had Autism 16 years ago (remember, the people tested were over 16), and the number is still 1 in 100 right now, then that proves the lack of an ‘epidemic’.

The reason I put that in quotes is important. When I posted the story to Facebook this week, someone asked: “Doesn’t that just mean it has been an epidemic for more years and now we can actually begin to deal with it?”

The answer is no.

The definition of an epidemic: An outbreak of a disease or illness that spreads rapidly among individuals in an area or population at the same time.

Ignoring for a moment that Autism is not a disease (it’s a disorder), we can now prove that Autism does not spread nor is it increasing in numbers. Therefore Autism is most certainly not an epidemic.

What does this have to do with vaccines?

Well, 20 years ago, vaccines had thimerosal, you know, that ethyl-mercury stuff… which should mean that there would be MORE Autism 20 years ago than today since almost all of our vaccines no longer have thimerosal today. Right? We took it out 10 years ago, the number of Autism cases should have gone down.

If we rule that out, then perhaps it’s the number of vaccines given in such a short time. Which, if the epidemic theory was correct, would make sense. But now that we can show that the rate of Autism was around 1 in 100 back then, when children had less vaccines than they do now…. we must conclude that the number of vaccines is not a factor either.

The amount of vaccines have changed, the amount of Autism cases has not.

Researchers identify 18 novel and highly significant genetic markers for ASD

In this article, read more here, researchers have broken down Autism into 4 sub types, and have found 18 genetic markers (10 of which are common to 2 or more sub types) that are common in Autistics.

This is big news because it means that they’re narrowing it down. It also means that they’ve specifically determined that Autism is genetic.

Does it mean that there is no “sub type” that is not more likely to have a reaction to environmental toxins that could resemble or cause Autism? No it does not. However, it does prove that genetically, they’ve already got it… it’s just a matter of having something trigger it and when.

Let me put it another way, if a sub type is one that is classified as having Autism lie dormant until triggered by something in the environment… well then, it’s only a matter of time. If vaccines do trigger it… what’s to say that food chemicals don’t too? or acid rain? Or artificial sweetners? or car exhaust? or cigarette smoke?

You get where I’m going with this? If you’re still worried about mercury after all I’ve told you and you now see that Autism is genetic… then chances are, all those vaccines you skipped will be for nothing once your child takes their first bite of a tuna fish sandwich. There’s far more mercury in there than all the old thimerosal vaccines combined.

It’s genetic… That’s why 1 in 100 adults have it, that’s why 1 in 100 children have it. That’s why their brains are 10% larger rather than having smaller heads. This is all beginning to add up.

But Wakefield told me to be Anti-Vaccine

It may surprise you, but I am linking to Age of Autism this one time because this transcript is actually important to point out. Wakefield, the guy often blamed for the anti-vaccine movement, actually never told anyone not to vaccinate their children.

In that interview, he states:

Ralph Nader was for safer cars .. he wasn’t anti-cars.  I am not anti-vaccine .. the vaccine strategy .. the vaccine policy in this country is not safe .. the safety has never been proven.

….

The safety studies of that vaccine are largely inadequate .. not my words .. the words of an international expert .. “largely inadequate”.   The safety studies have not been done .. I’ve not said “Don’t get vaccinated”.  I strongly advocate for the use of single vaccines.

Bold was added for emphasis.

 

He’s certainly not helped in making that message clear, but it needs to be clear. Whether you believe he is an honest man or he’s a thief that lied so that he could have his own vaccine patent in place to make himself rich… it doesn’t matter. What matters is that even he thinks that you need to vaccinate your children.

Actually, let me say that again… he had a patent for his own vaccine! He simply wanted to have the MMR vaccine split up into 3 separate vaccines, one of which he had a patent for.

Why would he develop a vaccine if he wanted you to not vaccinate?

Conclusion

Whether you feel that the vaccine schedule needs changing (it doesn’t actually, but that’s another matter) or you feel that vaccines need more research or you feel that vaccines need to be ‘greener’…..  do NOT STOP vaccinating your children!!!

Seriously people, there is no way in the world that it’s “healthier” or “safer” to not vaccinate… not in a million years.

Now, I do understand that some people simply can not vaccinate… allergies, adverse reactions or what have you… medical reasons do arise that make it unsafe to do so.

But personal paranoia is not a valid excuse! You can’t risk your child’s health and safety, not to mention other children’s health and safety, based on your own unproven fears.

Get all the information in the world, take what ever safety precautions you feel you need to take but vaccines work. You were vaccinated as a child. They may have saved your life and you didn’t even know it. That’s how they work.

If you’re pro-safety or concerned or what have you, that’s fine. However, if you’re anti-vaccine, to the point of not vaccinating your children at all, I no longer accept your opinion. I no longer accept your freedom to choose. Instead, I’ll do my best to change your mind.

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