Increase in autism baffles scientists

Thursday 24 October 2002

Last week, the New York Times ran this story about the unexplained rise in autism incidence. As the father of an autistic boy, this hit home. As you’d expect, we know many families with autistic children. What’s surprising to me is that we also know three families with autistic children who we knew before their children were diagnosed. In other words, we don’t know them because of their autistic child, we knew them some other way, and then they happened to have autistic children.

I certainly don’t know why autism is on the rise, but I know that it is a difficult disability to deal with, and that those that do could use more help, whether from family, schools, health care professionals, whatever. If the rise is genuine (and the study indicates it is), then more of the population will be dealing with autism, either directly or indirectly. Certainly much more can be done to understand it better, both through discovering more about it, and more widely disseminating the knowledge we do have.

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Comments

[gravatar]
Mike G. 9:32 AM on 24 Jun 2005

What's your opinion on the Kennedy article
(http://salon.com/news/feature/2005/06/16/thimerosal/)?

Since Kennedy's a lawyer, my first reaction is to be skeptical. But it's very disturbing...

There's a paper with more details at
http://robertfkennedyjr.com/docs/AutismHgPolitics_6_23.pdf

I hope this isn't the real answer; it would be too evil.

[gravatar]
Dan Weinreb 9:23 AM on 12 Oct 2009

In 2006 (since the above was written), this paper was published, claiming that a review of the literature shows that there is no convincing evidence for a link between MMR vaccine and autism. You can read the paper and decide for yourself what to believe. I take no position; this is just suggested reading.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17168158

Lots more about this at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal_controversy

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