Monday, March 31, 2014

What is going on?

One day last week I was talking to an old friend from my past while pulling weeds in our front yard. She told me about a girl who grew up with my two youngest sons….how this girl's oldest son was just diagnosed at age 3 with autism. This is such a common conversation. One that I probably hear about once a month with someone. Or maybe more often than that.

Two days ago the second top news story on CNN (the 1st being the lost plane) was that autism has increased by 30% since 2012! It now affects 1 out of every 68 children, or 1 out of every 42 boys.

What in the world is going on?

Did you know that 30 years ago autism was 1 in 10,000? Almost unheard of. I did not know one child with it back in the day when I was raising my boys. Then somewhere in the 1990s it began to take off like wild fire. And continues to soar, picking up speed with each passing year.

"They" don't know what causes it yet. Someday they will. But it will be too late for the many children being exposed to whatever is causing it now. So do we just sit back and wait it out?

My son Logan and I had an interesting conversation about a week ago. We were talking about something unrelated to autism...I think we were talking about statins. He made this statement: "75 years from now the way we practice medicine will be completely different than it is now." That makes sense being 75 years ago is nothing like now.

Then he offered this idea: (and remember this is all hypothetical) "Say a doctor through his own professional experience, and perhaps his own research decides that too many of his patients are prescribed statins. So he begins deciding that some of his patients would be more harmed by taking statins than being helped by them. But, he can't NOT prescribe them because that would be going against normal protocol (or Den tells me is called, 'standard of care'). And if a patient has a heart attack they could sue the doctor for not offering the statins." (not an exact quote from Logan but close enough…and he wasn't necessarily putting down statins….just using that as an example)

So doctors all have to basically follow along like sheep (I truly mean no disrespect here)….or they could get themselves into trouble and lose their ability to practice at all. The day does come when "standard of care' is changed (and most all of it IS eventually)….but history shows it takes an average of 17 years for the AMA to change after studies prove the need for it.

Again, I mean no disrespect to the medical profession. I would not want to be without them in my life. Just trying to make the point that they have to protect themselves. They can't always practice in the way they want to. I understand that.

So where does that leave us? Studying things out, learning, listening. Or we can just wait till the medical profession figures it all out but at what cost? And how long will it take?

So back to the autism. There is always a "cause and effect" whether or not we know what it is.  It obviously has to be coming from something that a generation ago was not happening. For example, read this very interesting article on ultrasounds, my sister gave to me. Please read it to the end before you make judgement. It's something certainly worth considering.

Ultrasounds are not the only things being studied right now in relation to autism. Pollution, induced births, GMOs in our food, immunizations, and who knows what else.

I just learned today that April is "autism awareness month." So I'm hoping this means more TV programs and newspaper articles, etc will focus on this, and we can learn more. I know there are success stories out there and I'm hoping they'll come more to the forefront. I hope to share more, as more becomes available to me. Like I always say, we're all in this together.


Anonymous said...

Oh, this is such a sensitive and difficult subject! We live in a very different world now than when I was a kid. I look at group photos of my classmates in the 50s and 60s, and there were VERY FEW overweight kids. Everyone looked more or less slender. Now, it is unremarkable if a child is overweight.
Same with autism. Never heard of it or saw it back then. Now it is so prevalent that in our elementary schools they have full classrooms of autistic children. I heard that they are going to need to expand. What is happening, indeed?
No, they don't know what causes it, but they have clues. If I had an autistic child today, I'm sure I would follow every lead, every clue, because I would not have time for "them" to solve the problem. I would need to help my child feel better NOW. Later could be too late.
One of the clues is that autistic children tend to have poor digestion and crave carbs excessively. That would be a start. How to improve my kid's digestion? I could work with that. I would look into the GAPS diet. It seems to have a good track record with autism so far. If I thought my child might be autistic, I would pass on immunizations until my child was feeling and acting much, much better. I would feed my family only organic foods. I would make sure my kids spent lots of time outside in nature, rather than obsessively staring at "screens" of all kinds (TV, computers, hand-held devices), and I could go on. There is much information out there, and there will be lots more in the future. We need to look at all the possibilities and not stop until we solve this problem! Our children are counting on us to make it right for them.

pebble said...

My three year old grandson currently attends the "autism" class in our school district. It is all day long, the bus picks him up at 8, and drops him off after 3:30. He collapses into his momma's arms as she collects him from the bus where he naps. He loves his school, but it has been hard on us to have him gone this long. It's easy to say what you'd do if you had a child with this, but it is entirely different when it happens to your family. Each child is so so different, you can't categorize them into one thing. We have hints of what is going on with our little guy, but there is a limit to the money and resources, so we do all we can. All I can say is, you don't love them any less, and you do all you can. I have been so grateful for all the help the state and schools have given, the speech therapists, etc. Our little guy has no speech, but we are hoping that will come.

Rebecca said...

I believe it is electronics. Smart phones, Ipads, computers and TV. Many children's drs are now saying 'NO electronics before age 5". I agree. Too many parents are too quick to just hand their kid the smart phone to "play". It does something to their brain. Parents need to learn to get of their phones and teach their kids to play the old fashioned way. I think we would see much less autism if we did! Little kids do not need these things to play with!

Stephanie Cozzens said...

Funny, with vaccination rates falling (and preventable disease outbreaks consequently on the rise,) autism rates are still rising. So I hope against hope that people don't blame vaccines for autism - that only endangers our children more.

Anonymous said...

Such very interesting and thought- provoking comments. Thank you for the awareness. I agree with parts. Perhaps the cause of autism is actually a combination of many things. I think we all should strive for healthier lifestyles. We decided to get rid of the microwave as it alters the food in ways we know not. We rarely purchase processed foods, such as boxed, canned, or frozen meals; we grow much of our food or get it directly from the farmer; and we never eat at fast food places nor take our grandson there. Small steps that could make a huge difference.

pjc in MI

Heidi Ballas said...

I think one interesting thing that should be included in this conversation is... why do doctors have to protect themselves? Well, obviously, because of medical malpractice lawsuits! I think this speaks very much to our culture's tendency to blame after the fact and neglect to do research or be informed before the fact. We as a society very much like to have a thing or person to blame for the things that go "wrong" in our lives. Which makes sense as that can help bring closure and absolve our own selves from guilt. But are we sure we're blaming the right person or thing? I, PERSONALLY, believe that it's hard to ever blame ONE thing or person for something and that it is usually many things that contribute to any outcome, good or bad. And many medical malpractice suits blame ONE doctor for neglecting to do ONE thing. I agree there is a standard of practice they should all be held to, but it seems to be we are tying their hands if we are so far behind research when it comes to standards and so quick to blame them for things that are not ENTIRELY their fault (for the most part - there are absolutely medical malpractice instances that are horrible and in which the doctor is solely to blame).

I wish we lived in a society that promoted greater personal responsibility (and let it be ok that maybe we did mess up, we're only human after all) and valued taking care of our bodies, even when nothing seems wrong with them (which I believe goes hand in hand with taking care of our hearts and minds - they all influence each other).

Also, it is very sad about the rise of Autism and I very much hope research continues and standards are updated accordingly.

Heidi Ballas said...

I would also like to say that I appreciate your thoughtful commentary! It made my wheels turn in a very good way.

Rebecca said...

My friend who is in Special Ed. said to me today that she does not believe there is an increase of autism, just an increase in people being labeled as autistic. Interesting thought really......

Tracie B said...

I agree with a lot of what is said above. I think society wants to put a label on everything as well as blame. I hate that so many of my patients refuse vaccines based on the theory that it causes autism. I personally would rather love my autistic child than mourn my unnecessarily deceased one. Polio and diptheria are on the rise.
I (as well as many of the doctors I work with) dislike the "standard of care" too. Just the other day, I saw a doctor at Children's argue with my friends who have a baby with a chromosomal deletion and had open heart surgery 3 weeks ago. The doctor said the parents were being detrimental to the baby's care by wanting a different feeding plan. She was hostile and confrontational to these parents of a 3 month old baby because she (the doc) was going by typical patient guidelines. Not taking into consideration that mom is small, babies with that chromosomal defect are poor feeders and slow growers and the poor baby was a recent heart patient. The doc even threatened to call CPS! It was horrible. I totally agree with Logan though. Medicine and the way we currently practice will change. It already has in the 15 years I've been doing labor & delivery.

Raven Rozier said...

I have a friend whose healthy baby became autistic after a number of vaccinations. He's 12 now and still severely affected. Epigenetics: fake food, tainted water, mercury in vaccines/amalgams, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, EMFs, radiation, toxins in just about everything, etc.). These things are actually mutating our DNA. Pharmaceuticals mask symptoms but don't address the root cause, and they damage organs and impair the immune system. Doctors can't be so stupid as to not understand what's going on. They should be paid to keep people healthy; instead it's the opposite. This doesn't even scratch the surface of this topic. 100 yrs. ago 1 in 800 got cancer; today it's 1 in 2.6; clearly, something's going on.

Anonymous said...

For Autism Awareness month:

Lisa said...

Thanks for the statistics...

ok...on a side note, Patrick the Painter is coming tomorrow to get my doors & drawers. He is busy & has a nephew helping him out. I'll give you an update soon.

PS: Jasmine while severely delayed from the DPT shot has autistic tendencies. She used to not be able to be touched but now loves hugs. She is repetitive in plays with strainers all day long! : ) I think all this stuff could be attributed to conspiring men but that's just a snap thought that came to mind while reading your post. XOXO ttyl

Sue said...

I agree. The increase in autism is disturbing. Wish we could figure out what's causing it.