Helping Raise Awareness for Children with Autism
Old 06-01-2009, 09:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey guys, for those of you that don't know Scott Carefoot the "Godfather of Raptor Blogging" has a 3 year old son with Austism. Scott and his wife are taking part in a charity event called the "Walk Now for Autism" to raise funds to help find a cure for this and help all the children that have this affliction. James from Dino Nation had a chance to interview Scott over the weekend to discuss this amongst other basketball related stuff.

Anyhow, click the link below for the interview and if you'd like to donate yourself to help the cause please follow this link: Click here

Source: Dino Nation Blog: Playoffs, Raptors And A Good Cause
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's really alarming how many cases of Autism there are these days.

I hope they can find a cure.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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i don't think there are any more instances of ASD than there were in past years, just more diagnoses due to different criteria, more awareness and politics. definitely an important cause, and great work done by mr. carefoot.

another major key is bill 77 and the enshrining of individualized funding for families. a watershed moment, really.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks Doc. Also thanks to all that check the interview out and if you can contribute to the cause great.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, there are certainly more diagnoses...... how many are due to increased prevalence is pretty hard to know.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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interesting reading:

Science-Based Medicine The Increase in Autism Diagnoses: Two Hypotheses

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The Increase in Autism Diagnoses: Two Hypotheses
Published by Steven Novella under Neuroscience/Mental Health, Public Health, Vaccines
Comments: 27
A new study sheds more light on the question of what is causing the recent increase in the rate of diagnosis of autism. Professor Dorothy Bishop from the University of Oxford studied adults who were diagnosed in 1980 with a developmental language disorder. She asked the question - if these people were subjected to current diagnostic criteria for autism, how many of them would be diagnosed today as having autism? She found that 25% of them would. (Bishop 2008)

This epidemiological question has been at the center of a controversy over whether or not there is a link between vaccines (or the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal, that was previously in routine childhood vaccines) and autism. The primary evidence for this claim put forward by proponents of a link is that the number of diagnoses of autism increased dramatically at the same time that the number of vaccines routinely given to children was increasing in the 1990’s. They are calling this rise in autism an “epidemic” and argue that such an increase requires an environmental factor, which they believe is linked to vaccines.

That the number of new autism diagnoses is dramatically increasing is generally accepted and not a point of debate. The historical rate of autism is about 4 per 10,000 and the more recent estimates are in the range of 15-20 per 10,000 (30-60 per 10,000 for all pervasive developmental disorders of which autism is one type). (Rutter 2005) The controversy is about what is causing this rise in diagnoses. There are two basic hypotheses: 1) That the true incidence of autism is rising due to an environmental cause, 2) That the rise in incidence is mostly or completely an artifact of increased surveillance and broadening of the definition of autism. These two hypotheses make specific predictions, and there is much evidence to bring to bear on their predictions - this recent study only being the latest.


The confusion about the epidemiology of autism is one common to scientific medicine. Whenever historical comparisons are made it is possible that changing definitions and practices over time will distort those comparisons. This is why medical scientists are often reluctant to change nomenclature (disease names) and definitions - doing so immediately renders the literature obsolete. All subsequent literature must now have a footnote. But the progress of our understanding of biology and disease makes such changes unavoidable.

In the 1990’s the diagnosis of autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - the new name reflecting the changing concept of autism to include a broader spectrum of symptoms, including much more subtle manifestations. In particular a diagnostic entity known as Aspergers syndrome, which is essentially a subtle manifestation of autism features, was classified as part of ASD. Any time you broaden a category the number of individuals that fit into that category is likely to increase.

Autism researcher Eric Fombonne found that:

Recent epidemiological surveys of autistic disorder and other PDDs have heightened awareness of and concern about the prevalence of these disorders; however, differences in survey methodology, particularly changes in case definition and case identification over time, have made comparisons between surveys difficult to perform and interpret. (Fombonne 2005)

In addition to the broadening of the diagnosis, the social and medical network supporting ASD dramatically increased. There has been increased efforts at surveillance - scouring the community for hidden cases of autism. Further, parents have become much more accepting of the diagnosis, which may partly be due to the fact that is some states the label with facilitate access to special services. And clinicians have become more knowledgeable of ASD so are better able to make the diagnosis, even in subtle cases.

Rutter, in order to test this latter hypothesis that increased diagnostic rates were due largely to changes in diagnosis and surveillance, reviewed literature that contained sufficient information to assess true historical rates of autism. He found that applying modern criteria to these historical records yields similar rates of diagnoses: 30-60 per 10,000. Taylor did a similar review and found the following:

The recorded prevalence of autism has increased considerably in recent years. This reflects greater recognition, with changes in diagnostic practice associated with more trained diagnosticians; broadening of diagnostic criteria to include a spectrum of disorder; a greater willingness by parents and educationalists to accept the label (in part because of entitlement to services); and better recording systems, among other factors. (Taylor 2006)

Another prediction that flows from the second hypothesis is that if we compare apples to apples - meaning if we look at the same community and apply the same diagnostic methods that were used in the past as documented in a published study, then the incidence should be the same. In other words - if we control for any changes in the diagnostic criteria and surveillance methods the incidence of autism should be stable over time. Chakrabarti and Fombonne did exactly that, comparing the incidence of autism in 2002 (looking at a cohort of children born between 1996-1998) to the same population using the same methods as a previous study looking at the cohort of children born between 1992-1995. They found:

The rate in this study is comparable to that in previous birth cohorts from the same area and surveyed with the same methods, suggesting a stable incidence. (Chakrabarti 2005)

If the broadened diagnosis hypothesis is true than it must also be true that as other diagnoses shifted over to autism they would decrease as autism numbers increased. This is exactly what Jick et al found when they reviewed a cohort of boys with and without autism. What was previously diagnosed as language disorder is now being diagnosed as autism, with a corresponding decrease in non-specific language disorders. Shattuck found the exact same effect, so called “diagnostic substitution,” when he studied the prevalence of disabilities among children in US special education from 1984 to 2003. He found that in locations where the prevalence of autism had increased there was a corresponding decrease in the prevalence of other disabilities. (Shattuck 2006)

This brings us to the current study by Bishop et al. They looked at adults who were diagnosed as children with a developmental language disorder. Applying current diagnostic criteria they found that a quarter of them (12) would have been diagnosed today with ASD. This also fits the hypothesis that diagnoses have been shifting over to autism from other developmental disorders over the past two decades. The authors, however, caution that the number of subjects in their study was small and therefore it is difficult to extrapolate from this to the general population.

It should also be noted that all of this research, while supporting the hypothesis that the rise in autism diagnoses is not due to a true increase in the incidence but rather is due to a broadening of the definition and increased surveillance, does not rule out a small genuine increase in the true incidence. A small real increase can be hiding in the data. There is no evidence upon which we can conclude, however, that true autism rates are increasing.

Of course the implications of this are profound. If there is no autism epidemic, if there is a “stable incidence” of autism over recent decades, then this alone is powerful evidence against the vaccine hypothesis - and in fact removes the primary piece of evidence for a vaccine-autism connection. Just as a true increase in incidence would have called out for an environmental factor causing autism, the lack of any increase argues strongly against any environment factor - especially when this is combined with the copious evidence for multiple genetic factors as the ultimate cause(s) of ASD.
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for promoting this, Doc. My boy, Max, is a great little dude but I'm going to have to spend upwards of $30K annually on classes to help him learn how to talk and interact normally with other children. Hopefully, increased awareness will lead to more funding for this condition.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Scott nice job and I truly, truly wish your son gets better. Good luck.

BTW I just wanted to ask how can kids get autism? I read a book THe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time and it was pretty sad but I still don't know who kids get it. If someone can explain. Thanks in advance
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Much respect to this whole thread.
Having a brother with autism is tough and its only getting tougher and as he gets older, he's starting to be more problematic and my parents are burdened with the fact that when they go, the government might take him. But ever since I started to notice people raising awareness and seeing more and more people going annually to the walk for autism you get that sense of hope and a drive to move on.

this sunday is the walk for autism and I hope I to see you guys there.
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Someguy again View Post
this sunday is the walk for autism and I hope I to see you guys there.
My wife and I will be there at the walk with at least 10 supporters. Look for the group wearing the "Team Maxwell" t-shirts. I'll be the dude with the big head wearing Oakley shades.
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Old 06-08-2009, 04:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Here is the follow-up from Scott from this past weekend. Congrats on the money that you did raise Scott and hopefully the event was an overall success.

Source - RaptorBlog.com featuring Scott Carefoot
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