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October 5th, 2009
09:15 AM ET

Autism Study: One in 91 kids have disorder

According to a new report being released this morning, the number of cases of childhood autism in the U.S. have been severely under-reported. CNN's Alina Cho reports.

Filed under: Health
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. LadyWolf

    I think there are times when people are misdiagnosed. When I was in elementary school, I had teachers of three early grades who insisted I was autistic, even to the point of making a formal diagnosis. My dad disputed it and in time we moved anyway I started a new school and that was forgotten.

    I don't know if those teachers received extra funding for labeling people or what, but they obviously were incorrect. I'm 22 and do electrical work on planes in the Air Force and am quite content with life. Evidently, something they did was off.

    December 22, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  2. Lori Muir

    Regarding the story on Autism:

    Please look into the link between Lyme disease and Autism. There is a huge story here no one is telling, please investigate.

    Here is the link between Lyme and AUTISM:

    Watch the YouTube trailers for the documentary:

    "Under Our Skin” Parts 1-5

    Get the Book:

    "Lab 257"

    I suffered with Lyme disease for 10 years, misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic infections and mental illness.

    In 2008, Lyme had infected my brain so badly, that speech was difficult, memory and concentration gone, daily spasms, difficulty walking, lost my vision....

    I had lost 65lbs in a matter of months towards the end.....I was totally disabled, and felt near death, many ER visits especially the last year of infection...waking in the Psych ward, with no help for my physical symptoms, every time.

    Mid 2008, I contacted the LDUC...Lyme Disease United Coalition of Iowa.

    They helped me more than anyone ever had with information on how to find a doctor for treatment of Lyme, and how to care for myself until I was able to get treatment.

    I had to travel out of state, an (8 hour drive) an "Allergist", who was really a Lyme Expert, but insurance wont pay for chronic Lyme treatment, because the CDC tests is the only one they will accept for a diagnosis and coverage of treatment.

    I have read that the standard Lyme tests are very unreliable, give false positives and negatives more than half of the time.

    Out of desperation to find out what was wrong with me, I demanded a DNA test for Lyme disease from Igenix, the test was still not a positive on the CDC standards, but did show positive for spirocyte proteins, which only occurs if you have Lyme.

    Positive for bands 31 and 41. The CDC says, you have to have 5 bands show positive for a diagnosis of Lyme.

    With my Igenix results in hand, a clinical diagnosis was finally made: Chronic Lyme disease and Babesia (another tick borne disease).

    I was treated with diflucan, 2 different strong antibiotics, 2 prescription folic acid, (Cerefolin NAC and Deplin) and the anti malarial, Malarone.

    Total cost for medication: 1300.00 vs. tens of thousands in misdiagnoses, plus 8 years of lost income.

    Doctors do not like to treat with extended use of antibiotics...had they done this in 1998, my life would be very different now, and I wouldn’t be facing bankruptcy and foreclosure.

    I had a clinical diagnosis (test showed negative then too)... of Lyme in 1998, which I was told I had been cured of with two weeks of antibiotics, and never another thought was given to that by my doctors.

    I was nearly cured in two months, after a decade of suffering; regaining most of my physical and mental function, and feeling much better.

    It has been a year now since completion of treatment. I have not been back to any doctor since I was successfully treated for Lyme disease, against all expert advice. And that’s a good thing, because we can no longer afford to carry health insurance!

    Google Lyme Awareness Sites, and weigh patient and doctor statements vs. the CDC information regarding diagnosis and treatment of Lyme, there is a huge disparity of information...

    Many experts agree that it is possible that LYME can be transmitted during pregnancy. If it is the neuroborrialis strain of LYME (there are more than 300 variations of the infection), then the symptoms can look like Autism, ALS, MS, Retardation, Fibromyalgia, Bi-Polar disorder…the list goes on and on.....

    Please tell the other side of this story, and look at the correlation between the increases of even CDC reported Lyme cases vs. the increase of Autism diagnoses.

    In my experience with health care, they make much more money keeping you sick and putting a non-testable, non-curable diagnosis on you. I had to become my own health care proxy to find out what was really wrong with me.

    Thank you all at CNN for reporting this and other important stories, now time for you to make the connection! Dig!


    Lori Muir

    October 5, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  3. Helena

    In some of the statements that were presented I was satisfied the basic summation of the issues was essentially correct. These were 3 in total.

    1.) Autism is caused by outside environmental factors

    2.) Is this being over-diagnosed?

    3.) Since some on the spectrum are healed, does this mean it wasn’t autism in the first place?

    Having worked with autism for over 25 years, both as a special education teacher and a brain rehabilitation expert, I can tell you that this issue is in many ways the story of my life, and I’ve been standing on my soapbox trying to get the message out for many many years. I’d like to speak to these 3 issues in order below.

    1.) Autism in an epidemic. I will say that again, autism is part of an epidemic that has spread through the healthcare system much more rapidly than it ever needed to as the result an unfortunate coincidence of several factors.

    One is that the healthcare system is broken. When de-regulation of Wall Street occurred, there was no way to check the insurance companies from increasing their stock’s dividends and value by decreasing services provided to the insured.

    I can tell you as a healthcare provider that there is an inverse relationship between the stock market and how much health insurance companies will reimburse you for when the stock market is down. It’s a predictable trend. Right now we are seeing the largest number of rejected health insurance claims even from good providers that I’ve ever seen in my life. People have come to feel that having health insurance means nothing anymore. They don’t necessarily understand why, but they do feel something’s wrong.

    Many people feel that since the insurance companies won’t pay for autism, they as parents have to figure out how to pay for services often out of pocket.

    This has led to another disturbing trend: Parents are willing to do anything to make money for their kid’s treatment. I’d like to focus on that a bit.

    Many many times I’ve heard parents say that they’re forced to do what they have to to make sure that their kids get the care they need.

    If that parent happens to work on Wall Street, which many of them do, then they will say things now like, yes we saw the downturn coming and the problems that drove it, but they say they didn’t care; they just did what they had to do. Unfortunately, they saw no other way out of the dilemma that they were in to take care of their child.

    I’ve always thought that it would be curious to see how many Wall Street employees have children affected by autism. The numbers must have jumped up quite a bit.

    Is autism caused by environmental factors: you betcha!

    Part of the issue is how to define autism, and I’m going to propose that it simply means a constellation of problems that develops when you have a certain amount of brain trauma. There are of course a number of ways that this can occur. The combinations I’ve seen usually encompass two major insults to the brain in a relatively short period of time. Having a mother with undiagnosed Lyme disease in the Northeast autism cases seems most likely to be the cause, which passes through the umbilical cord infecting the child who then gets vaccinated and need I say more?

    In California the issue seems to be the pesticides. I bet the people who are using them just don’t care or choose to believe that neurotoxins can be that dangerous. But they are, and unlike in most parts of Europe, we have people in the “business” of farming that could care less what happens to the rest of us as long as they make a profit. They don’t tolerate that in Europe.

    Add any other trauma, like birth trauma, merconium issues, long labor, getting bit by a Lyme tick, a mother who is increasingly full of environmental neurotoxins herself and a diet the brain doesn’t like when it’s healing and you’ve got major problems.

    2.) Is autism being overdiagnosed?

    I wish that were the case, but the facts will prove out that it is actually occurring more and more. Most people recognize that something is really happening.

    3.) Autism can’t be cured?

    That is what happened with a client of mine who went to Yale and got the diagnosis. After working with her for two years, her son got progressively better. I told her not to go back to Yale because they would not believe it. I went there and saw that the pediatric neurology team was a bunch of the old boy network who went out to play golf a lot (I wonder if it was with people from the pharmaceutical and health insurance companies) and were not about to budge or discuss anything, and I mean anything when I went to talk with them.

    The mother thought if she went back and told them that they would listen and tell other parents so that they could share the information to help them get better.

    Of course, they didn’t listen and she felt terribly that so many parents couldn’t get the good information she had done with all the research, therapies, and success she’d encountered.

    To the doctors and therapists who believe that we can’t do anything about autism, I’d like to tell them to take a hike. Having autism doesn’t mean you have to have it forever, not at all. We didn’t know as much about the brain as we did years ago. The information was not there. But now we have to admit that the brain is more plastic than we thought and there is a process whereby we can recover brain function depending on how bad the damage is to the brain.

    I can safely say that unless there is major structural damage to the brain that can be identified by fMRI’s, not regular MRI’s alone which don’t have the resolution for it, as well as qEEG’s not regular EEG’s, then there is a good chance for recovery.

    But this rehabilitation effort takes a lot of time, money and people involved in the process.

    Because the numbers have gotten so high, we need to address this complicated issue. We can’t let the health insurance companies just continue to confuse the facts, or the pharmaceuticals or anyone else.

    Lobbyists have to set their differences aside for this because we are all being affected by this trend, Republican or Democrat, and the welfare of the American people is at stake.

    We have to address autism and I really know that we can. We must have a radical acceptance that it is here and needs to be dealt with and can no longer be swept under the table and adjust our course accordingly. It is actually past time for us to deal with it.

    Thanks for your reporting on autism and if you need to have any help with identifying the issues around autism, I’d be very happy to consult with you on it.

    Yours ever truly,

    Helena Kerekhazi, M.S. Ed.

    October 5, 2009 at 9:39 am |