One in Fifty Children Is An Epidemic

| April 28, 2013 | Comments (0)

dreamstimefree_6431074Earlier this week I read that the CDC reported that the rate of autism shot up 72% in the past five years to one child in fifty but that they are confident that this is due to greater awareness of the disorder. Reuters added that “scientists” believe that the disorder is 90% genetic.

It is amazing that my head did not explode.

At the risk of covering material normally covered in the second grade, if something is genetic, like sickle cell anemia or cystic fibrosis then rates change only with changes in population. Anything that shoots up 72% in five years is not primarily genetic. Humans take too long to reproduce.

Also if you have measurement bias in the same direction, by a lot, for ten years in a row, you no longer have measurement bias. You have a trend.

I know you know all of this. What I cannot figure out is how the CDC does not know this.

If my son sent in a science project indicating a hypothesis that was not supported by the data and then proceeded neither to test nor validate the hypothesis, he would get a failing grade. He is after all six, and expected to know better. If the CDC does not understand how a hypothesis is validated I can recommend several episodes of Sid The Science Kid, and a few of Dinosaur Train which cover the subject in detail.

The mere fact that there is no word in Somali for autism yet Somali refugees in Minnesota are plagued with it screams environmental factors yet there is this creepy insistence that it is a genetic disorder…that somehow skipped all previous Somali generations…forever.

I get that this is a terrifying thought, but until we come to grips with the fact that autism is really increasing and that somewhere there is an environmental cause or trigger we will never be able to stop what is now a full blown epidemic. I do not know what the cause or causes are, but I do know that pretending that a genetic disorder can increase 72% in five years is not helpful. And if you measure something and you are off by 72%, repeatedly…then you are simply not competent to measure things.

There is a lot of data out there and I am convinced that if we use it we can find the cause of this epidemic. The answer is out there, but we have to be willing to actually look. Only then will we find the cause.

We cannot cure what we refuse to see.

If you want to see the original article you can go here.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/20/us-usa-autism-idUSBRE92J0YX20130320

And the CDC paper is here

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr065.pdf

And back episodes of Sid The Science Kid are available on pbskids.org.

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