American Morning

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June 22nd, 2009
06:52 AM ET

Unlocking the mystery of autism

Tony Williams remembers the moment when he found out his baby Tony Jr. had autism.

“It was just heartbreaking. I sat in the room and cried.”

That was a year and a half ago. Tony Jr. is now almost 3-years-old, but even with early intervention he barely speaks and is prone to tantrums.

His mother Daureena Williams says there are times when she feels lost not knowing what to do.

“There are days when you wake up and he’s just screaming at the top of his lungs from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed.”

The Williamses say they’ll do whatever they can to improve the life of their son. A new groundbreaking study may give them that opportunity.

Over the years there have been many theories but nothing definitive about what causes autism, a developmental disorder that affects one in 150 children in the United States. Now researchers are about to embark on one of the largest and most comprehensive studies aimed at finding a cure. The National Institutes of Health and the advocacy group Autism Speaks will fund the study.

Researchers plan to study 1200 pregnant women who already have a child with autism. After the mother gives birth, researchers will then turn their attention to the first three years of the child’s life. Professor Craig Newschaffer of Drexel University is heading up the study.

“These are families that we know are at higher risk of autism by virtue of the fact that there is already an affected child in the family.”

The 10-year study will look at possible environmental and genetic links to autism. Researchers will study factors including the types of toiletries used, household cleaning products and medications. Professor Newschaffer says they will also have the mothers keep diaries.

“We're collecting in real time, comprehensive information. Things that the mom is exposed to in pregnancy and things that the baby is exposed to in early life.”

Daureena Williams is pregnant again, making her a candidate for the study.

“It makes me feel better knowing that I am helping my son and anybody else’s child. Even though he’s only two years old he is going to be a man some day and we just want him to have a nice life. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just a nice life where he can function on his own.”


Filed under: Health
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Amy

    Amy-
    My white blood cell count was 2 1/2 times normal levels during my pregnancy. It was detected in my 6th month. I, too, was monitored by a hemotologist. Otherwise, I had a very easy pregnancy. I was not sick during my pregnancy. As soon as I gave birth, my white blood cell count returned to normal.
    I am researching to see if there is anyone else who had the same problem or if there is any research about this. Please, if anyone has any information, please forward it to me at amyrpaul@comcast.net. We have a beautiful little boy who is now 2 and diagnosed on the spectrum. He is making exceptional progress utilizing Dr. Greenspan's Floortime treatment approach.
    -Amy

    December 20, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  2. Gena

    I am wondering if hot baths and hot tubs could be a cause. In asia this is used as a form of birth control. What affects does this have on sperm other then killing out right? I've heard it could cause mobility problems in sperm. Could it also cause damage but still allow for fertilization?

    August 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  3. daureena williams

    sorry i just found this link after a big move we had,
    I just like to say thankyou to all the support and information that was provided for my family and we are definently looking into it .

    July 31, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  4. mothers love!

    MY SON WEIGHED 7 POUNDS 9 OUNCES, AND LOOKED NORMAL AND HEALTHY AS ALL NORMAL HEALTHY BABIES DO., HE WAS NORMAL IN EVERY WAY AND ACTIVE, HE TALKED LIKE YOUNG BABIES DO AT 8/9 MONTHS DO,THEN WHEN HE GOT TO BE A YEAR OLD HE STOPPED LEARNING AND TALKNG SEEMED LIKE HE WAS GOING BACKWARD IN LEARNING.THEN WHEN HE WAS AROUND 2 YEARS OLD THEY DIAGNOSED HIM WITH SOMETHING I NEW NOTHING ABOUT {AUTISM} THAT WAS IN THE 1970'S LIKE 76/77.I DIDN'T HAVE KNOW HELP TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT TO DO HE WOULD BEAT HIS HEAD ON THE FLOOR AND SCREAM OUT LOUD LIKE HE WAS HURTING SOME WHERE, THE NEIGHBORS NOT KNOWING ME OR HIM WOULD CALL THE HUMAN SERVICES ON ME , THEY WOULD COME OUT AND CHECK ON THE PROBLEM AND FIND OUT THAT IT WAS ME AND MY SON ,THEY WOULD APOLOGIZE TO ME AND SAY IF THERE'S ANYTHING THEY CAN DO LET THEM KNOW I WOULD ASK BEG THEM FOR HELP BECAUS E MY NERVES COULD'NT HANDLE MUCH MORE, NO ONE AROUND THIS SMALL TOWN EVEN NASHVILLE TENNESSEE, DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO OR HOW TO DEAL WITH IT I HAD TO BE STRONG AND LEARNED AS I WENT ALONG, MY HUSBAND AND MY DAUGHTER ,HAS SPENT ALL THERE LIFES TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HIS NEEDS AND WANTS,HE'S NOT IN A WORLD OF HIS ON , WHEN HIS DAD PASSED AWAY ABOUT 3 YEARS AGO HE SHOWED SOME FEELINGS, 2WEEKS LATER AFTER HIS DAD WAS BURRIED, HE MUMBLED OUT LOUD,DA,DA BYE,BYE.HE'S 34 YEARS OLD I WOULD'NT SWITCH HIM FOR NOTHING IN THE WORLD, IF NO ONE BELIEVES IN MIRACLES,MY SON IS LIVING PROVE THERE IS A LOVING GOD!!!!!! BECAUSE MY SON HAS EATEN AND DRUNK STUFF THAT WOULD HAVE KILLED US AND DONE THAT SEVERAL TIMES.HE'S TAKEN PILLS THAT SOMEONE WOULD FORGET TO PUT UP, AND DRUNK BLEACH SO MUCH THAT HIS CLOTHES HAD TURNED DIFFERENT COLORS ,THE BLEACH HAD WORKED THROUGH HIS SKIN,THATS BEEN ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO. WE HAVE TO KEEP EVERYTHING UNDER LOCK AND KEY FOR HIS SAFETY THERE'S OTHER THINGS HE'S DONE THAT WOULD BE TO MUCH TO WRITE. THE MEANING IS IT TAKES DEDICATION AND ALOT OF SUPPORT AND LOVE TO CARE FOR MY SON,NO MATTER WHAT CAUSED THIS PROBLEM HE'S HERE AND HE'S SPECIAL,A LOVING MOTHER!& SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  5. kimberly

    C.L. Rechel-
    I've NEVER smoked marijuana....cannot say the same for my husband.

    I don't think it's some mysterious conspiracy that causes Autism. I truly believe it's Genetics...maybe with a dash of environmental effects.
    I really wish the focus would go there as far as funding is concerned.

    As for my 2 Autistic angels...they don't need a cure...they need patience, understanding and for the general population to be open minded and realize that their children won't "catch" it if around my children.
    We, as Autistic families need to find ways to make more people educated about Autism. Too many times, my little ones are treated as "freaks" , not by other children, but by the PARENTS.

    June 24, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  6. C.L. Rechel

    I feel that the most common denominator to the causes of autism, is smoking marijuana. Someone needs to do some research into this. The father can damage his genes long before his sperm fertilizes an egg, and in a woman, she does not have to be currently pregnant to also damage her DNA and future babies she may have.
    Of the many people I have spoken to who have autistic children, the common factor was that they all had smoked marijuana several times previously.

    June 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  7. mikki

    Would like to know if there is any correlation to either infant formula or corn (which has been genetically engineered for years). I think the infant formula (cow's milk, soy, etc) probably has something to do with the digestive difficulties and possibly brain development.

    June 24, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  8. Kerry

    Most of the doctors who participated in the original "vaccines cause autism" have admitted that they falsified results. If doctors and pharmaceutical companies are all in a giant conspiracy, why do doctors get their own kids vaccinated? (As a doctor's child, myself and all five of my siblings have received all recommended vaccinations, including the five year old, who was born after this false study). Autism is an incredibly tragic condition, and we need to work on helping those who have it by using real science.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  9. Karla RN

    I hope in this study they take a good look at the placenta. As an L&D nurse for the better part of 34 years I think we are missing some vital info in not examining placentas in cases where disease is suspected. We may not know what to look for, but there should be some norms set up. Look for evidence of environmental, pharamaceutical, nutritional, etc. in placental tissues. Or maybe just freeze placentas and to examine at a later date when autism is diagnosed.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  10. JB

    Maybe I'm missing something , but if fillings and vaccinations cause autism, why doesn't everyone have it?

    My entire family has Asperger's to some degree and are considered on the spectrum, albeit high functioning, myself included.

    It's genetic, like your hair color, or your gender. You learn to function with it, if you are able to, but you will never be "cured".

    A diagnosis should be the beginning of that learning process, not a definition of who you are.

    Good luck to all of us!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  11. kimberly

    Serenity-
    Isn't it interesting how these "Cure" doctors are so quick to recommend very dangerous chelation therapy to rid our children of leads (even though our bodies DO require a small amount of some leads to function),
    yet, none of these same doctors is fighting to create a clean form of ridding our waters from these leads???

    Susie- good for you fighting for your child!! so many people don't trust their instincts and just go with what the doctor says without question.

    Just a quick note to point out as far as intelligence and Autism goes-

    My daughter is Aspergers....she scored a 92 on intelligence level whereas most kids score between 25 and 75....yet, she talks of nothing other than Zebras and cannot sit in a chair for 30 seconds without falling out for no apparent reason, she is also rigid in routine, and was talking at a very early age.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  12. kate

    there is no proven link between vaccines and autism in any peer reviewed medical journal. mercury has already been taken out of vaccines. as a public health practitioner, and a cousin of two boys with autism (from the same family, demonstrating yet another source of genetic evidence), i hope to dispel this myth. please stop listening to the jenny mccarthys of the world and read scientific evidence that autism is not caused by vaccinations. vaccinating children is extremely important, and i hope someday researchers focusing on this condition find the real source, which is most likely due to both genetic and environmental causes.

    June 24, 2009 at 2:28 am |
  13. susie

    It would also be great if doctors would stop over diagnosing autism and scaring the hell out of parents. My son had a language delay and food intolerances and the doctor was very quick to diagnose him with autism. He now is 4 and is highly intelligent for his age, very social, talkative and so on – but I'm sure there is a terrible diagnosis for this too!

    June 24, 2009 at 2:27 am |
  14. kimberly

    To respond to C-
    Its very interesting that you brought that up because studies have shown that fathers that have children later in life have a higher chance of having a child with Autism. My husband was 38 when we had our daughter with high functioning, and 41 when we had our son who has classic Autism. As far as their nutrition, I do not know. I do know that if nutrition plays a role during pregnancy...Taco Bell might go out of business!!
    OK..bad joke...but interesting theory.

    June 23, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  15. kimberly

    Hi Amy-
    Yes...the differences were behavioral...I know many would discount that, but I do have a daughter that is not on the spectrum, and 2 that are. My daughter with Aspergers would not stop moving during pregnancy, (she is 5 now), and smells made me very ill, she has a brain that works overtime now, and is very sensitive to sounds and smells. My son, who has classic autism barely moved, to the point that I got very worried during pregnancy. I just knew something was up...as a mom, you know the feeling, but can't really explain. As an infant, he displayed characteristics that I didn't pinpoint at the time because my daughter was not diagnosed...I was clueless. But now, when I think back....the funny hand movements when he was just born....staring at lights....I know it had nothing to do with vaccines.

    Either way, they are both wonderfully unique children that are happy and loved and cared for. I wouldn't dream of putting them through daily shots, chelation therapy and other unproven biomedical treatments that would make them miserable. That would defeat my purpose....I want them HAPPY.

    As an Autism Mom, I actually steer other Autism families AWAY from DAN! doctors. I am all for funding being spent on real research.

    Anyhow, best wishes to you.

    June 23, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  16. Jill

    There is a large parenting board (out of respect to the members, keeping it unnamed) with a significant population of mothers who never vaccinated and are also dealing with autism. Of greater interest are many mothers who vaccinated their 1st child, who developed autism only to not vax subsequent children and they were still affected by autism.

    I think it is these families who did not vax/mixed vax that could really help close the vaccine debate and narrow in on other possible causes, whatever they may be.

    June 23, 2009 at 9:50 pm |
  17. Beth

    I can't even imagine having one of these children, the physical, mental & financial burden must be terribly taxing. It scares me to even have children.

    June 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  18. Michelle

    Oh, I meant to clarify - I don't necessarily feel that too many vaccines DO cause autism, just that the immune system overload theory makes a lot more sense to me than the mercury one, which I don't believe at all. I also think that if vaccines have anything to do with it, they would just be ONE trigger amongst many possible other ones to people genetically susceptible to autism.

    June 23, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  19. Michelle

    I believe mercury was taken out of childhood vaccines in the late 90s or early 2000s (except for some flu vaccines), yet the levels of autism still rise. Also, the mercury that was used in vaccines was in a different form than what people typically think of - mercury poisoning happens when mercury accumulates in your body through repeated exposure. The mercury in vaccines is a different form which is quickly excreted, and can't accumulate over time to cause damage. Plus, it's simply not true that other countries don't have the rates of autism we do - as a matter of fact, it was in the UK where they first decided to try vaccines without mercury, and their levels are rising exponentially, too.
    This isn't to say that I don't give some creedence to the whole 'vaccine/autism' debate, but it makes more sense to me that it might be the result of too many vaccines at once causing an immune system overload in susceptible children, but who knows. I think it would be wise if you have a child or another family member with autism already, to try a delayed vaccination schedule so they don't get so many at one time.
    Interestingly, if you study 'autism maps', you'll find that geographically, areas that are 'technologically advanced' or where there are clusters of technical jobs, also have clusters of autism. From what I've read, they don't know if this is something environmental that's common to these areas, or, considering technical jobs attract a lot of highly intelligent and similar-minded people, maybe it's genetic - i.e. smart people are genetically more inclined to have autistic children. It makes a little bit of sense; if you're super smart, you have a lot of neurons firing and brain growth (when you're younger), and isn't there a theory about autism that says their brains are firing too many neurons at once, and their brain grows very fast, and possibly the wrong connections are made?

    June 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  20. Kristen

    Renee-my heart goes out to you. My aspie son is going to be 13 in a month. Puberty sucks for neurotypical kids and it's worse for ASD kids. My ASD 5 year old is finally responding to stimulant therapy to help with the ADD related behaviours. Now that he is able to focus we are starting therapy for the ASD. My 16 month old is slow developing language and I am watching for other signs. Some are there and some aren't. I am incredibly blesses that my kids are all high IQ, high functioning. But mostly becasue I am given an unique opportnity to see the world differently than parents of neurotypical kids. I definitely treasure the incredibly rare hug from my boys. It seems to mean more to me than other parents. I have learned everything there is to know about Thomas the tank Engine (twice). I know Yugi-Oh and now Naruto. I don't get my medical advice from a TV bimbo and her comdeian boyfriend.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  21. oniongirl13

    The idea that autism is being caused by vaccines is so outdated and ridiculous that I'd actually call it a "chestnut". By now it's only spewed by ignorant people who've never picked up a medical journal. The doctors are not in a great conspiracy to lie to us about it and poison our children, and if you honestly think all those great men and women who care for us are, I invite you to try some serious introspection on the nature of humanity, because if it WAS that, SOMEONE would have taken a stand by now.

    It makes just a little more logical sense that it's not that, and that vaccines are getting lame blame they don't deserve – oh, and that unvaccinated children could expose mine to deathly illnesses because of knee jerk reactionaries like you.

    June 23, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  22. Anne

    The added comments might be beneficial to the people doing the study if CNN and research people sort through the information. Wondering about some of the cases being caused by a lead toxicity for one thing. If the nutrition, health, and possible toxicities of the father is also put into the research material might be helpful as C suggested. I hadn't heard of the DAN group before it was mentioned in the comments section with this news article.

    June 23, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  23. Serenity

    Renee, You and your family are obviously not alone but telling you this won't help. Community understanding and misleading information isn't helping. How can the medical community OR any test regarding toxins explain why one of my childen has autsim and the other is does not?. They have had they same vaccinations and we have lived in the same community...drinking the same water and eating the same foods. Autism is here to stay and searching for the reasons and the 'cures' isn't helping those who are dealing everyday. It isn't a disorder that you can 'catch'. My son has also been tested for ADHD and ADD. Funny how all of the written tests are subjective. Heavy metals are everywhere and how dangerous are the tests to remove them? RUN fast if you ever hear a professional recommed it.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  24. J

    The reason the rate of autism has increased is due to the fact that other disorders are now included in the "autism spectrum". The rate of classic cases of autism itslef has not increased.

    It scares me that everyone wants to jump on this whole "it's the vaccines" nonsense. I fear that research will be focused on the vaccnations (which are clearly not the cause of autism) and waste time and money instead of trying to locate the true cause.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  25. Renee

    I have an 8 year old daughter with Autism, and a 9 year old daughter with Asperger's Syndrome. I have 2 cousins that are ASD as well. I do not believe that it is related to vaccines. I think it is genetic.

    I am currently carrying a baby for another couple, that has no biological relation to me at all. I do not think this baby will be effected at all because it does not have my genetics.

    I do not think a diet will "cure" my children because there is no such thing as a "cure". It is a neurological disorder.

    People can say, "my niece or nephew had this or that." Unless you live with Autism everyday then you have no clue what it is like. My life revolved around the A word. A word I wish I had never heard of before.

    June 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  26. Malcolm Nark

    There does seem to be a very strong link between environmental toxic insults and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Having suffered with ADHD most of my life, I am glad some in the scientific community have now turned their attention to identifying the root causes of these conditions. To date, most of the money that has been spent on research has focused on creating proprietary drugs, that can be sold at high prices, that only treat the symptoms.

    In doing research for the second edition of by book, Control ADHD with Dietary Supplements (http://www.ControlADHD.com), I came across a most extraordinary book Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies by Kenneth Bock, M.D. (http://www.rhinebeckhealth.com/rhc/)

    Dr. Bock ties together these four disorders (Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies) and tries to determine a root cause. Dr. Bock also offers eleven General Safety Guidelines for a childhood vaccination schedule.
    He writes "Genetics, so to speak, load the gun and environment pulls the trigger."

    Environmental insults
    From his web site at http://www.rhinebeckhealth.com/rhc/autism.php
    "Environmental factors contributing to autism include heavy metal and chemical toxicity. Abnormal liver detoxification (caused by genetics or otherwise) combined with heavy metal or chemical exposure can have devastating effects.
    One fairly recent study of 56 children with autism indicated that 100% had levels of heavy metals outside the normal range, 95% had levels of toxic chemicals outside the normal range, and 98% had imbalances or malfunction in liver detoxification.
    Children were routinely exposed to high levels of heavy metals through mandated vaccinations, many of which contained thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative.
    In fact, most children were exposed to 187.5 micrograms of mercury by 6 months of age.
    On average, the schedule of vaccines given at 2, 4 and 6 months result in a one-day exposure to 62.5 mcg of mercury, exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency's allowable daily exposure of 0.1 mcg per kg of body weight.
    In the first 6 months of life, this is approximately 80 times greater than the daily allowable amount.
    Mercury is neurotoxic and immunotoxic (toxic to the nervous system and immune system), and is very difficult for the body to eliminate. In a child with a developing immune system and perhaps genetic predisposition to detoxification or immune system abnormalities, mercury can contribute to the development of autism or other illnesses."
    "To find a physician in your area, visit the Defeat Autism Now (DAN) web-site, http://www.defeatautismnow.com, or contact the Autism Research Institute, 4182 Adams Ave., San Diego, CA 92116"

    June 23, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  27. C

    Does this study include questions on preconception nutrition of both the mother and father? There are small studies that have shown the genetic viability of sperm can be greatly affected by eating habits (specifically, lack of fruits and veggies). Also, poor eating habits seem to fit with the geographic and temporal patterns of autism. Yet we only seem to focus on preconception care of the mother. Why hasn't anyone looked at this, at least to rule it out?

    June 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  28. Serenity

    I have an autistic eight year old boy who is a high functioning individual. We have gone through the list of possible reasons he has autism. I am not one to with hold vaccinations from my child. Good luck getting into public school and better luck to you when you encounter another child who's mother or father didn't deem it necessary to have their child vaccinated for fear of autism.

    Understanding the complexity of autism is overwhelming at best. Mothers and their bathroom products? Chemicals and vaccines? I am not sure. But I do know that I resent the term "cure" as if autism is a disease....something a mother- to -be could have prevented if she stayed away from a certain chemical or avoided a specific vaccine.

    I don't believe there is a cure for autism and I don't think it can be stopped – per say. If it is an environmental issue, I have yet to read the study. Why do we have a higher rate of Autism in the U.S. Do we? Where is the case study on that?

    With growing understanding of and developing definition of autism and other spectrum disorders, it makes sense more individual are falling undre the guidlines outlined by the spectrum. Years ago these autistic individual were put into institutions and taken away from their "refrigerator" mothers. These studies harken back to the 1950's research and that frightens the hell out of me.

    June 23, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  29. Amy

    Kimberly-
    What did you notice during pregnancy? My 19-month-old was just diagnosed with mild autism and I am 16 weeks pregnant with my second. The pregnancies are very different. With the first, I had a VERY high white blood cell count that I had to see a hemotologist about every month. After having my son, the WBC count went back to normal. I am having another boy, and no such problems. I am new to all of the research, but I truly believe it is not related to vaccinations.

    June 23, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  30. kimberly

    jon kopel-
    where have you been? vaccines haven't had mercury in them for years...and yes, other countries have a high rate of Autism as well.
    I have 2....and I can tell you, that with mine, I knew something was up during pregnancy....genetic, or environmental.
    It's a real concern to me that people blame vaccines with no scientific evidence to back it up, put their children through traumatic biomedical treatments that are unproven and at times medically dangerous. Research funding should go where there may be hope of finding a link.

    June 23, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  31. Todd Kelsey

    Alina, shout out from Chi-town, please see my ireport about Iran at: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-280487

    June 23, 2009 at 8:10 am |
  32. VJ West

    There is no excuse for a child to be screaming. There's enough information out now about the terrible gut conditions, the mitochondrial disorders and the horrible, pervasive allergies kids on the autism spectrum suffer. Despite the claims of early "behavioral" intervention as the be-all-end-all of this condition, when it comes to a child like Tony Jr, Autism Speaks falls flat on it's face. The failure of Autism Speaks to address the REAL pain issues in autism, the success of Autism Speaks as a major sinkhole for autism dollars is nothing short of criminal.

    Tony, Daureena – take little Tony to the closest DAN doctor you can find. Defeat Autism Now and the Autism Research Institute have been the REAL world leaders in helping our children to heal and begin to live the life of a normal child. It's time to stop giving our children's futures to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries that keep them drugged while they suffer. Don't expect a physician who gets bonuses for prescriptions, funded for studies (on YOUR child) or in a myriad of other ways, exploits your child's physical pain and mental delay for their own financial gain, to care in the least if Tony is up screaming all day & night.

    My heart goes out to you, because we were once where you stand now. My grandson once screamed day and night. Today, he is joining the world of other children – talking, playing and loving life.

    For the sake of your new baby, and the sake of your family, see someone who is competent to treat your child and prevent your next child from following his path. A "study" on what happens to you and this child is not going to stop the process. While the study is badly needed, everyone should be aware – it is designed to document HOW autism occurs...not to stop it if it starts.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:15 am |
  33. Tamara Rubin

    The connection between blood lead levels (BLLs)/ lead poisoning and Autism needs to be more fully explored. If you have a child with Autism-like symptoms, make sure they get a blood test for lead and lead poisoning is ruled out – many children initially thought to have Autism actually have lead poisoning and there is a lot you can do to clean out their environment and cleanse their bodies to give them a better chance at a better future. Check out my website http://www.mychildrenhaveleadpoisoning.com also see the video done by the Environmental Working Group about environmental toxicity and its potential link to disease in children (from conception/ before birth) go to ewg.org or do a search for the ewg 10 Americans video.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:11 am |
  34. Ttorontonian

    I have 2 1/2 years old son with ASD and we are not sure whom to believe and what to follow. For the last couple of months we are just running behind the Autism centers and specialists but until now no progress because no cure/treatment has started yet. And it seems like that there are no proper trained specialist who can help ASD kids and start treatment without waisting crucial time.

    We are in Saskatoon – Canada.

    I hope these doctors could discover something that could help ASD child live normal lives.

    June 23, 2009 at 1:48 am |
  35. Sonja Mack

    Please join the TACA group forum @ yahoo.com There is so much info to help these children. I have to agree with Jon Kopel. These studies are a waste of time and money. The government and the CDC and the pharmaceutical companies KNOW where it comes from . Thimerosal (mercury) in the vaccines. These children have been poisoned but the insurance companies won't cover them to recover them. I'm recovery my grandson I don't care what it cost. The government Vaccine Injury Compensation for filing a lawsuit is only 3 YEARS NOT 7 WHY NOT 7? THEY ARE SHUTTING OUT FAMILIES WHOSE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN POISONED.

    June 23, 2009 at 12:28 am |
  36. Debi

    I hope at least have of the sample size are unimmunized to show if there is any correlation between immunized and nonimmunized children.

    June 23, 2009 at 12:05 am |
  37. Janna

    My son is three years old and was diagnosed at 21mos with High-Functioning autism. He has a cousin who is autistic as well. It is a struggle every day just to do normal things. My daughter is one and shows no signs of Autism. I would like to have another child but knowing that the risks are high for having another child with autism makes me hesitant. I don't know if it is vaccines. People on here are trying to talk like they know that vaccines are definitively what cause autism and that has not been proved. I think this is a great study and will help in finding a cause. I think we are years and years away from a "cure" if there will ever be one. My son is a wonderful happy child and I want the best for him. If this study can help parents in the future I am all for it!

    June 22, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  38. Mandy

    I had 3 children within 3 1/2 years, and while I knew something was wrong with my middle child, I was told by several doctors to wait it out and see if she got better. She didn't and by the age of 3, she was diagnosed with autism, six months later my oldest daughter who was 5 was diagnosed, and my baby boy who was 2 was diagnosed. Now 3 years later, we still struggle with autism. My son is still considered nonverbal and in diapers. The doctors and insurance companies dont' cover autism and so they tell me "Good Luck". I have been sent from clinic to clinic and doctor to doctor because my kids can't stand to be touched. Everyday is a struggle yet families need to find hope in small things. Don't blame yourself of your spouse. And most importantly, I think, find other families like your..while an autism support group is great, having other parents with multiple kids with ASD will at times save your sanity.

    June 22, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  39. jon kopel

    These reports are at best a joke and at worst, lies and deception perpetrated by the medical establisment (AMA) and the government! The FDA is completely corrupt as it is owned by the pharmaceutical industry.
    Autism is caused in great measure by environmental pollutants, most prominently mercury in vaccinations. Why don't other countries have the same high rate of autism as we do here in the US? They don't require vaccinations to the same degree AND they don't put mercury in the vaccines.
    Did you know that in Europe, mercury fillings have been banned for years in the dental profession.Why not here?

    June 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  40. Bruce Hoff

    What you do where you come from has nothing to do with trying every avenue to resolve a problem that plagues families all over the world! We as a people need to be more tolerant in our opinions, generous in our support and proactive with all programs that help kids live a better life. This holds true for every country in the world, regardless of their pompous countrymen.

    June 22, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  41. Debra Baker

    I have a 3 yr. old with Autisim Spectrum and Sickle Cell disease. It is heartbreaking watching him get frustrated trying to tell you something, but not being able to verbalize it. We had early intervention, but it is still a struggle. We have no idea where our child got this and there is not a history of it in either of our families. They need to figure this out because there a lots of children with this who will grow up either being able to function or unable to take care of themselves and society is not kind to children or adults with disorders.

    June 22, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  42. Mr.Ryder

    Oh sorry i gues that was the wrong spot but if doctors looked into brain nerons and corrtex mapping (how the brain functions) this shows how we canadians are starting to help autism and other brain damages and chemical imbalances? the nature of things had a show about it how your brain runs or somthing

    June 22, 2009 at 7:12 am |