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I am beyond infuriated with these people. My 28 year-old son has autism. He was diagnosed at age 3 by an entire group of different doctors, but mainly his geneticist. He has fragile x syndrome without the facial features issue. It presents in autism but most people dont ever test for it. It wasn't just that, of course, but it helped. He also has a - dactylly with his fingers, an iq of 68 (give or take), and quite a few other prevalent markers. It is something that prevents him from living on his own or being In an unmonitored social situation. He's not dangerous, just socially awkward. I am so sick to death of these irresponsible "professionals" diagnosing every weirdo, excuse maker, unpopular, Peter pan adult with autism. It's a serious problem and these people are unserious. It damages the actual autistic community. Rant over.

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I am not certain that the field even knows what it means by Autism spectrum disorder. Severe Autism, yes. Otherwise, no. My family has clearly had Asbergers / ASD for a span of generations with no cases of disabling Autism. We can argue some about wierdness, but still successful engineers / scientists none the less. When my wife told me that I had Asbergers (later formally verified) I replied that so far as I could tell, I was not significantly different than my professional peers, some of whom were clearly worse.

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Autism needs to be distinguished from the vaccinosis that mimics it, caused by the covid (and likely other) 'vaccines.' The autism field is a mess, with everyone using different rules and definitions. I consider true autism to be genetic and there is much evidence of this. What is so prevalent now is the post-'vaccine' trauma that resembles genetic autism and which has infected so many children, and this data is being vigorously suppressed.

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Three in-vogue psychiatric diagnoses that are way overused these days: autism, bipolar illness, and post traumatic stress disorder. Many folks diagnosed with autism actually have mental retardation, which has become an unspeakable diagnosis. Others are normal: it's become fashionable to declare one is "on the spectrum", or "neurodivergent".

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For many people, the advantages of being on the spectrum outweigh the disadvantages.

It seems to me that there are two dramatically different groups being lumped together because of a few characteristics that especially annoy and frustrate others, but are not especially important to the people affected. These are people with low overall function and social ineptitude, and people with high overall function and social ineptitude.

Members of the second cohort include most of the people who have accomplished anything noteworthy regarding things in the history of the world. That they rarely accomplish much regarding people isn't something they especially care about. They just aren't that jnterested in people. They can easily talk about anything with confidence. However they can't talk about nothing, and they don't care.

If I were given the opportunity to trade my transcendent ability to solve problems no one else has ever solved and almost no one could for relief from my inability to make small talk I cannot think of a day in my life when that would have been an appealing trade.

That many people find me odd doesn't matter to me. I don't really care what they think.

The one thing many people don't understand is that a person on the spectrum may take significantly longer to mature. Just as humans take longer than chimpanzees to mature, and raising them is less certain and more work, but when mature they are substantially more capable than their simian counterparts, people on the spectrum take longer to mature than their neurotypical brethren.

In my own case, I roughly approximated the social maturity of a 21 year old typical when I was about 35. It was a difficult process, but well worth the wait.

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I have little knowledge of autism as this posting will, I predict, illustrate.

Nonetheless, I’m a skeptic. Years ago I remember we had a rush to label children “learning disabled” and send them to “special education” classes. It got so bad, i.e., trendy, that the legislature had to step in and pass law to limit the number of such students being labeled and sent to special ed classes from public schools to a single digit percent of the population of eligible public school students. The implication of course was teachers were removing troublesome students from their classrooms at great expense to the tax payers and little benefit to the student.

Then came ADHD and the drugging of mostly bored young males rather than exercising them as natural for them at that age. Again, teachers were often accused of getting rid of their disruptive students and parents were not particularly happy with listless and dull eyed children at home.

Now the latest craze is autism. Again, it is said one needs great training to diagnose such affliction—like reading goat entrails in Ancient Greece. But in the end, it amounts to a subjective diagnosis. My perception is that there are more autistic students than certified diagnosticians from the number of people I’ve bumped into who describe to me their children’s latest “major malfunction”.

I had a brusk saying back in the day when approached with such analysis/diagnosis, “If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist!” It got some attention and folks went away—at least until they brought back some metric to be applied other than their “professional opinion”.

Now you describe polygenetic testing as a diagnostic tool. Well, I’m all for it if perfected. We shall see. One thing I do agree with however, is that we are diagnosing a syndrome (if that) that has probably always been with us—rather than discovering a new or increasing disease. I’ll bet on hysteria everyday when it comes to our (USA) educational system. YMMV.

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Very interesting post - but estimates of increase due to diagnostic stretch seem to peak at about one third. So, doesn't that still leave the real possibility that the actual syndrome has increased, or have I missed something?

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I knew a family with two boys -- the older autistic and the younger on the weird side of normal. Their mother was certain that the older boy changed radically and became autistic the day after he had the MMR vaccine. When I met the father, I thought him weird too -- not quite normal, though a high achiever in his tech career. I have read elsewhere that children who become autistic after a vaccination have inherited traits that make them susceptible to vaccine damage. I would like to see a study like yours that has vaccinations factored in.

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Very to the point – the diagnosis system is an absolute mess and makes it impossible to make scientific progress.

There is also a recent study from Japan (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35099540/) that found a significantly increased risk of autism diagnosis before the age of 3 when screen time before the age of 1 exceeded one hour per day. If this is not yet another example of seeming correlations coming out of bad methodology, I'd suspect this might point to a separate disorder from classic childhood autism, caused mainly by deprivation of regular mother-to-child to contact (perhaps amplifying an underlying genetic vulnerability).

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Huge factor; autism treatment will usually be paid for by insurance, other issues not. So if behaviors overlap with autism, and autism treatments will reduce the severity of symptoms, say the patient has autism.

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“There is likely little parents can do currently to avoid having autistic children, other than not being autistic themselves.”

Sure there’s a lot of very easily modifiable risk factors for autism. Like lowering paternal and maternal age; reducing paternal cannabis use; reducing pre-eclampsia; minimizing maternal use of certain NSAIDs; and (probably) examining the link between RoundUp and autism. RoundUp is pervasive and bioaccumulates and is used in ever greater amounts and is a known endocrine disruptor.

And that’s even before looking at vaccines.

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StatNews is called that in reference to the medical use of “stat” as in “statim” which means “immediately” or “right now.”

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Much of what is labeled as “Autism” these days seems to be the medicalization of poor socialization.

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Ok, ok, we'll pay for it

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This is happening a lot. It starts with a diagnostic entity defined by clear cut symptoms, definite findings on physical examination, and specific test (blood, X-ray, etc.) findings. The entire complex sets those with the disease apart from those without the disease, so you can try to figure out the pathophysiology, natural history, and treatment.

Then people start messing with the definition. They loosen up the symptoms and physical findings required, they fiddle with the thresholds for the tests, and next thing you know you no longer have a black/white situation, but rather you have a whole bunch of gray on a spectrum. This leaves a whole bunch of people who should be in the “non-diseased” category expecting the societal benefits of being “diseased”, while making it harder for those who truly are “diseased” to get the care that they need.

As for autism, as a family doctor I saw all sorts of people who had gone through school fairly well suddenly wanting special accommodations for their “autism spectrum disorder” when they hit university. Ditto for ADHD.

And now you see it with mental health disorders. Any form of anxiety or moodiness is now considered a full blown mental health disorder.

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Jan 10·edited Jan 10

Diagnostic stretch and decreased standards might well be the whole story. But I'm reluctant to just accept that without more definitive evidence. Also because of the childhood vaccination hypothesis. I used to just think that was a conspiracy theory but after Covid, I decided to take a closer look at the evidence for that. And I'm afraid I found it pretty compelling, e.g., The massive increase in childhood vaccines being administered (from about 3 to something like 20), mostly using aluminum adjuvants, with doctors for convenience often administering a large number at the same time with consequent big does of aluminum to very young children., and this occurring at just about exactly the time autism diagnoses really took off (but not as you note other unpopular diagnoses). Take a look at the evidence (and there is a lot more than just this) being cited here - sure its not definitive, mainly correlational, but the case it makes is in my opinion pretty damn plausible.

Then also there is the huge bias that has being injected into the research. Big Pharma makes huge risk free profits from vaccines, and big Pharma has come to pretty much control the govt regulatory apparatus and funding sources. As a result any research that might suggest harmful effects of vaccines will not be funded, and even if done will suffer a huge campaign from Pharma, govt, and media to try and undermine and rubbish it. Conversely any research that likely to suggest that vaccines will not have harmful effects will be generously funded , very well publicized, and the researchers producing such findings will be assured of much more funding, easy publication, promotions, and career success.

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