Asperger Syndrome is on the rise. At least that’s the implication of the latest research that finds autism is nearly twice as common as previously reported. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 1 in 88 children in the U.S. have autism — approximately one million children and teens. That’s up from 1 in 110 children in a 2006 study. Why the increase? The answer is inconclusive. It could be that better screening and diagnosis accounts for the findings. But there could also be overdiagnosis at play. What is clear, though, is that little progress has been made in the treatment for AS and autism and much more education and assistance is needed.
New federal report confirms a study earlier this year that found autism is more prevalent than had been thought. About 1 percent of children had the diagnosis in a 2006 study of 307,790 eight-year-olds in 10 communities across the country by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Catherine Rice, a behavioral health scientist at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, says autism is far more common in non-Hispanic whites and that the cause is still unknown.
The CDC now says shortages of the H1N1 vaccine could mean several weeks of delay before the medicine reaches some college campuses Nearly one-quarter of the deaths so far are among young adults under age 25 and children. The seasonal flu, by contrast, tends to hit hardest among people over age 65, those with chronic diseases and babies. Despite the ferocity of the swine flu, many students on the autism spectrum — and their parents and some autism advocacy groups — remain wary of the vaccine. For decades, there’s been an open debate about whether vaccines, specifically the MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) vaccine, causes or contributes to autism. Most scientific studies indicate there’s no link between vaccines and autism. But doubts remain. At the heart of issue are concerns about thimerosal. In the United States, an estimated 60% of the 225 million doses of the injectable swine flu vaccine will contain that mercury-based preservative. You can ask for a preservative-free shot. And the FluMist nasal spray for young children has no thimerosal. “We essentially call the CDC out for labeling us as ‘anti-vaccine’ every time we ask a question about vaccine safety,” says Ann Brasher, vice president of the National Autism Association.