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Archive for the ‘autism’ Category

My peace I give unto you (–John 14:27)

Posted by Charles II on November 24, 2010

An interesting interview on DemocracyNow with Canadian physician Gabor Mate on ADD/ADHD.

The basic thesis (for those readers who have ADD/ADHD or just too much to do) is that many childhood behavioral disorders are a consequence of how society is structured, with–by inference from monkey studies–children receiving insufficient parental interaction to develop a proper level of brain dopamine (this critical insight is missing from the transcript):


DR. GABOR MATÈ : Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are about half a million kids in this country receiving heavy duty anti-psychotic medications. Medications such as those are usually given to adult schizophrenics to regulate their hallucinations. But in this case, children are getting it to control their behavior. So what we have is a massive social experiment of the chemical control of kids’ behavior with no idea of the long-term consequences of these heavy duty anti-psychotics on kids.

I know that Canadians statistics just last week showed that within last five years, 43% increase in the rate of dispensing stimulant prescriptions for ADD or ADHD, and most are going to boys. In other words, what we are seeing is an unprecedented burgeoning of the diagnosis…. nearly half of American adolescents now meet some criteria for mental-health disorders. …

AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what attention deficit disorder is, and what attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is.

DR. GABOR MATÈ: Specifically ADD [identical to ADHD] is a compound of three categories called, um, a set of symptoms. One has to do with poor impulse control. So, these children have difficulty controlling their impulses. When their brains tells them to do something, from the lower brain centers, there is nothing up here in the cortex- which is where the executive functions are, which is where the functions are that are supposed to tell us what to do and what not to do. Those circuits just don’t work. So there is poor impulse control- they act out, they behave aggressively, they speak out of turn, they say the wrong thing. Adults with ADD with shop compulsively- or impulsively, I should say. And again, behave in an impulsive fashion. So: poor impulse control.

But again, please notice that the impulse control problem is general amongst kids these days…. The second criteria for ADD is physical hyperactivity….And then finally, the third criteria is poor attention skills. Tuning out, not paying attention, mind being somewhere else, absent mindedness, and not being able to focus. …

AMY GOODMAN: … I want to go to the point you just raised about the destruction of American childhood. What do you mean by that?

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Posted in autism, capitalism as cancer, Fox Noise, health issues, science and medicine | 1 Comment »

UK Sunday Times: Founder Of Anti-Vaccination Movement Faked His Data

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 8, 2009

Not that it will make a difference to the rabid anti-vaxers out there, but guess what (h/t Bad Astronomer via PZ Myers):

THE doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.

Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.

The results of Wakefield’s 1998 study were devastating. Immunization dropped sharply in the UK, leading to a measles epidemic: Official figures released last week showed there were 1,348 confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales last year, as opposed to just 56 in 1998, and two children have died from contracting measles.

Posted in anti-truth, autism, eedjits, evil, science and medicine, WTF? | 1 Comment »

Is It A Rise In Autism, Or Diagnosis?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 17, 2009

For many years, the medical community has held that the “autism epidemic” claimed to exist by anti-vaccination activists is far more likely to be a rise in the diagnosis of autism than anything else. A recent UC Davis study, much touted by the anti-vaccinationists as proof that autism rate rises can’t be explained by increased diagnosis, doesn’t exactly say what they claim it does, as Steve Novella notes:

The key to putting this study into context is the phrase “other artifacts”. This study did not control for all possible artifacts resulting in higher diagnosis rates. Specifically, it did not address surveillance, which is likely the dominant factor. It also did not control for shifting diagnosis. In other words, 20 years ago a child may have been diagnosed with a non-specific speech disorder, and today they would be diagnosed with autism, so-called diagnostic substitution as was found by Bishop in 2008.

Another factor is that physicians, teachers, and parents have increased awareness not only of the symptoms but of the autistic label. How many parents who notice that their child is socially withdrawn are going to seek out services or medical attention?

This study did nothing to assess these potentially huge factors. So what this study really did was account for 10% of the increase in autism diagnosis. But it did not show anything about the other 90%, nor rule out the leading contenders for diagnostic artifact. I will add it to my list of references on this question, but it certainly does not overturn all the prior studies listed.

It should be noted that Novella was relatively kind to this study. Joseph at Natural Variation has really ripped apart the paper’s assumptions, numbers, and methologies, here, here and here.

Meanwhile, another study, also using California data, showed that even as the diagnosis rate of autism has risen in California, the overall percentage of kids getting special education has remained unchanged. This strongly suggests, as medical professionals have long held, that conditions are increasingly being diagnosed as autism spectrum disorder when twenty or even ten years ago they might have been diagnosed as, say, schizophrenia –which often was used in the past as a catchall diagnosis and which a 1995 study showed was wrongly diagnosed 35% of the time.

Posted in autism, children, science and medicine | Comments Off on Is It A Rise In Autism, Or Diagnosis?

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