US autism rate up 15 percent over two-year period

US autism rate up 15 percent over two-year period

A new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report finds the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to be one in 59 among children aged 8 years in 2014 (or 1.7 percent). The rate rose 15 percent higher than in the most recent report two years ago.  The rate represents the highest prevalence since the CDC began tracking ASD in 2000. Consistent with previous reports, boys were four times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. The rate is one in 38 among boys (or 2.7 percent) and one in 152 among girls (or 0.7 percent).

ASD is a developmental disorder characterized by social and communication impairments, combined with limited interests and repetitive behaviors. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to improving learning and skills. Rates have been rising since the 1960s, but researchers do not know how much of this rise is due to an increase in actual cases. There are other factors that may be contributing, such as: increased awareness, screening, diagnostic services, treatment and intervention services, better documentation of ASD behaviors and changes in diagnostic criteria.

For this new report, the CDC collected data at 11 regional monitoring sites that are part of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) This is the sixth report by the ADDM Network, which has used the same surveillance methods for more than a decade. Estimated prevalence rates of ASD in the U.S. reported by previous data were:

  • one in 68 children in the 2016 report that looked at 2012 data
  • one in 68 children in the 2014 report that looked at 2010 data
  • one in 88 children in the 2012 report that looked at 2008 data
  • one in 110 children in the 2009 report that looked at 2006 data
  • one in 150 children in the 2007 report that looked at 2000 and 2002 data

“The estimated overall prevalence rates reported by ADDM at the monitoring sites have more than doubled since the report was first published in 2007,” says Dr. Li-Ching Lee, PhD, ScM, a psychiatric epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School’s departments of Epidemiology and Mental Health and the principal investigator for Maryland-ADDM.  Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health contributed to the CDC report.

The causes of autism are not completely understood; studies show that both environment and genetics may play a role. The CDC recommends that parents track their child’s development and act quickly to get their child screened if they have a concern. Free checklists and information for parents, physicians and child care providers are available at http://www.cdc.gov/ActEarly.

A full copy of the report, “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2014” is available on the CDC website here. A copy of the Community Report with individual state statistics is available here.

Is marijuana a reason for the increase in Autism, or the Solution?

No doubt the number of current and future parents who use marijuana is growing, along with the increase of autism.  Autism websites have pointed to the possibility that parental marijuana use may be a cause autism.  Indeed, it should be studied to see if marijuana is one an environmental cause of Autism Spectrum Disorders..

There are probably many different causes of autism as there a many different causes of seizures

Although the parents of Alex Echols claim that marijuana resolves the issues surrounding their son’s severe autism, it’s questionable how well this solution will work for everyone else.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks7Z5WIoj0Q

Another family reported that a social worker and nurse recommended medical marijuana for their 12-year-old autistic son.   In this state (not revealed for reasons of privacy), autism is not an accepted condition for treatment by medical marijuana.  However, a nurse told the mother to say the 12-year old had PTSD to get approval for medical marijuana. (It was not true).   In a short time period the boy became violent and psychotic and his life has been downward trajectory since that time.  He has been sent to a state institution. According to the mother, the boy had had the genetic predisposition to schizophrenia which is why THC triggered a horrible psychosis in this child.

British psychiatrist Sir Robin Murray explains: “No serious scientist can continue to deny the causal role of cannabis in the development of some individuals’ psychosis,” and that “some patients are schizophrenic who would be well but for their cannabis use.”  Most psychotic reactions are attributed to high-THC cannabis.  Although psychosis is not a side effect cannabidiol or CBD, it’s very hard to remove all traces of THC from marijuana.

View our previous post on Autism and an informative website.

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