Last week the CDC released the new autism statistics. 1 in 88. Based on children who were born in 2000. A 23% increase from just two years ago. 78% from 2002. 1 in 54 boys.
I don’t know about you, but I thought it was very, very scary when the incidence of autism was 1 in 110. Even 1 in 500. What’s happening? What’s behind the explosion of autism in our children?
It could be …
Let’s look at several possible explanations from the “experts.”
Something that happened during pregnancy. The mom was too old. She and her mate had less-than-perfect genes. She took an antidepressant or some other medication. She was sick. She ate foods that contained chemicals and preservatives. Her house was too clean. Her house was too dusty. They lived near a source of industrial mercury.
Something that happened after the child was born. He took this or that medication. He ate foods with chemicals and preservatives (like his mom). His pajamas had flame retardant in them. He was born too early. His weight at birth was low. He was exposed to pesticides. He already had another disorder, such as fragile X or Down syndrome.
I’m not saying that some or all of the above causes aren’t at least partly responsible for the new numbers. There is probably a small percentage of children who are genetically predisposed to autism. Maybe whatever is going on genetically leaves them vulnerable, just as being premature and having a low birth weight or older parents with gene mutations might make them more susceptible. But since there is no such thing as a genetic epidemic, genes can’t explain the dramatic increase in autism. How could autism be diagnosed at birth? (See the brand-new page on Facebook, Not Born With It.) It doesn’t make sense. Especially when a baby is given a hepatitis B vaccine when he’s 24 hours old. Followed by numerous others at the 2-month and 4-month “well-baby checkups.” And then more and more, until the child has had 49 doses by the time he’s five years old. But those vaccines don’t have anything to do with autism. No way.
Many experts believe that something in the environment can trigger autism in a child who is genetically predisposed. You’ve probably heard that “genes load the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger.”  Medications seem like a valid possible cause. So do foods and household cleaners. They’re filled with all kinds of preservatives and chemicals. Flame retardant in pajamas—I’m not sure about this one. I suppose it’s possible for it to seep into the child’s skin while he’s sleeping. And some children chew on their pajama sleeves, so that’s another route. Then, of course, there’s mercury. It’s a known toxin—at least in the form of industrial pollution and fish consumption.
A 2008 study on industrial mercury found that “community autism prevalence is reduced by 1 percent to 2 percent with each 10 miles of distance from the pollution source.” According to the authors, “low-dose exposures to various environmental toxicants, including mercury, that occur during critical windows of neural development among genetically susceptible children may increase the risk for developmental disorders such as autism.”  Certainly makes sense. What about mercury that’s injected directly into the bloodstreams of our babies and children? Versus pollution that is inhaled, sometimes from miles away.
And the EPA (yes, the U.S. government’s Environmental Protection Agency) Web site contains warnings about mercury consumption: “For fetuses, infants, and children, the primary health effect of methylmercury is impaired neurological development. If a pregnant mom eats fish and shellfish, the baby’s brain and nervous system can be damaged.” The result? “Impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills.” 
One thing to keep in mind about mercury. It has NOT been removed from all vaccines, so don’t let your pediatrician tell you that it has. Or that a vaccine contains mercury, but it’s okay because it’s a small—and safe—amount. Again, visit the EPA site. (You won’t find the word “vaccine” in their warnings, by the way.)
The consensus is that, more than likely, there is a combination of factors that contribute to the development of autism. All the potential environmental causes I’ve discussed include things that are either ingested, inhaled, or absorbed. But not injected. Not vaccines. They’re not even mentioned as a potential cause or trigger, except to say that “science” has ruled them out. The CDC is going to study illnesses pregnant moms may have had or medications they took as well as medications their children were given when they were young.  But not vaccines.
There is another explanation. What it boils down to is this. Everyone is getting smarter. Parents, teachers, doctors, therapists, and the public in general are more aware. They are better at recognizing autism, so more children are receiving the label. Not only that, the tests are better. Smarter. The diagnostic criteria has been changed to include children that used to be overlooked. Smarter.
What’s it going to take?
To quote Jim Carrey at the Green Our Vaccine Rally in June 2008, “How stupid do you think we are?”
How many more causes can the CDC and all those so-called experts come up with? What is left? How can they keep spitting out new theories and not consider vaccines? The more vaccines they add to the schedule, the more autism we see.
What has to happen before vaccines are blamed? For the incidence to be 1 in 20? 1 in 10? For autism to be the norm?
Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks, has this to say about the latest autism numbers: “Autism is now officially becoming an epidemic in the United States. We are dealing with a national emergency that needs a national plan.” I’m sorry, but this is ludicrous. 1 in 88 just now makes it an epidemic? 1 in 110 didn’t qualify as an epidemic? Or 1 in 150? Or even 1 in 166? And now—only now—it’s suddenly an emergency? And now we need a plan?
What are they so afraid of?
It’s simple, really. Follow the money. Billions of dollars for the pharmaceutical industry. Probably billions more spent on media advertising. Potentially billions on lawsuits. Who’s going to explore a link between vaccines and autism? Who would ever admit it?  It’s much more lucrative to continue coming up with new possible causes. To keep looking at genes, for one. Anything and everything except vaccines. God forbid.
I’ll never forget the day (January 28, 2010) I heard the news that Dr. Wakefield had been found guilty of 30+ charges of serious professional misconduct. I was stunned. I asked myself why a doctor who simply stated that he treated children with GI problems who also had autism (which the parents said they developed after the MMR vaccine) was dragged through the mud, called dishonest, unethical, and irresponsible, and banned from practicing in the UK.  He was talking about 12 children. Just 12. The CDC, the AAP, and the media, among others, choose to ignore the thousands and thousands of reports of adverse reactions to vaccines. For two sources, see the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System  and Joan Campbell’s (Autism Mothers and Dr. Wakefield’s Work Must Continue) site.  But they swarm around a study involving 12 children. Dr. Wakefield didn’t even say vaccines cause autism. He simply said what he saw and heard. In the 148-year history of the General Medical Council, his hearing was the most expensive and the longest. Over a study of a dozen children.
Why was Dr. Wakefield such a threat? Marcella Piper-Terry answers the question in her blog. “If Dr. Wakefield’s observations are correct, SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE will eventually draw the connection between vaccines and the domino-effect that leads to the ‘autism’ diagnosis. From the perspective of the pharmaceutical industry, better to ‘nip it in the bud’ now, which means discrediting Dr. Wakefield to the extent that no one will look further into the science.” 
The good news
More and more parents believe vaccines cause autism. 25 percent, according to one poll.  That was March 2010. Less than a year later, in January 2011, 52% of parents polled said they didn’t think vaccines cause autism.  That leaves 48% who believe that vaccines cause autism or who at least have concern about vaccines. I haven’t seen a more recent poll, but I would bet that the percentage is increasing, right along with the incidence of autism.
Don’t let the new numbers scare you too much. Dr. Katherine Loveland (UT Health Medical School) feels they are “less than alarming” and believes they’ll “level off.” She says: “It actually, in some ways, could be good news. The reason it could be good news is it could mean we are getting better at identifying and serving kids earlier and earlier in life.” 
CDC chief Dr. Thomas Frieden also thinks the news is good. “There is the possibility that the increase in cases is entirely the result of better detection.” 
And if all that isn’t enough to make any parent who has a child with autism feel better, there’s one more thing. The best news of all. The American Psychiatric Association is making changes to the DSM next year. They plan to “narrow the definition” of autism so fewer children will have the label (and, as a result, services). According to Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, director of the Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, “The proposed changes would put an end to the autism epidemic. We would nip it in the bud—think of it that way.” 
Wow. Who could have known it could be that simple? Just change the definition, and presto. No more autism epidemic. Too bad someone didn’t think of that a long time ago.