Every day, there is more information about this enigmatic epidemic. The Newsworthy tab on this site is useful for keeping up with some of the more controversial or confusing topics.
There never seems to be enough reputable, understandable, and useful news for families seeking help for a loved one affected with autism.
As of August, 2015, here is a representation of the most salient research:
There are multiple reports that the increased number of patients with ASD is mostly the result of diagnostic changes. It’s difficult to understand WHY this is so important to the media. Cancer of the colon and breast is recognized more, as are autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disorders. Plus, there are many medical diseases, such as chronic fatigue and restless leg syndrome, which weren’t even discovered until this century.
Though such information may be of some importance epidemiologically, it leads to confusion by affected families and skepticism by the general population. At The Child Development Center, there is a steady stream of patients who have no idea about DSM IV or DSM 5.0 criteria. Parents come seeking a trained physician who is willing to assist their non-typically developing child.
This is where some of the most important discoveries should appear. It’s not like the ‘olden days’ when ASD was thought to be due to a single, as-yet-undiscovered mutation, infectious or toxic agent.
A myriad of possible genes, on a variety of chromosomes. previously unknown or thought to be of little significance, appear to be related to increased susceptibility in higher risk populations; including males, prematures, or children with immune problems. That situation, plus a toxic environment, creates the perfect storm for our little ‘canaries in the coal mine.’
There is woefully little in the way of true new therapeutic interventions for children already affected with developmental delays such as speech apraxia, sensory processing issues, or aggressive behaviors.
The variety of studies that link advanced maternal and paternal age, increased maternal weight, and various other conditions of modern life, do little to ease the concern of prospective parents.
In fact, there are NO GoogleScholar.com entries on this subject in the present year.
Scientists can’t help but study this mysterious condition, in order to better understand not only ASD, but neurotypical behaviors, as well.
In spite of all the controversies that surround an autism diagnosis, medical researchers continue to make (slow) progress.