Saturday, October 19, 2002

New york times site
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/18/health/18AUTI.html

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October 18, 2002

Increase in Autism Baffles Scientists

By SANDRA BLAKESLEE

rying to account for a drastic rise in childhood autism in recent years, a California study has found that it cannot be explained
away by statistical anomalies or by a growing public awareness that might have led more parents to report the disorder.

But the study's authors, who reported their findings yesterday to the California Legislature, said they were at a loss to explain the
reasons for what they called an epidemic of autism, the mysterious brain disorder that affects a person's ability to form relationships
and to behave normally in everyday life.

"Autism is on the rise in the state, and we still do not know why," said the lead author, Dr. Robert S. Byrd, an epidemiologist and
pediatrician at the University of California at Davis. "The results are, without a doubt, sobering."

As diagnoses of autism have increased throughout the nation, experts and parents have cast about for possible explanations,
including genetics, birth injuries and childhood immunizations. The California study found that none of these factors could explain an
increase of the magnitude reported there — more than triple from 1987 to 1998.

Dr. Catherine Lord, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Michigan who is a leading authority on autism,
said it was unclear whether the California findings applied to other states.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working in 13 states to look at the apparent increase in autism cases,
said Dr. Frank DeStefano, an epidemiologist at the agency. So far, there is no reliable count of autism cases nationwide, since
criteria and reporting practices vary from state to state.

The California study was prompted by a 1999 report from the state's Department of Developmental Services, which reported that
the number of children with "full spectrum," or profound, autism had increased by 273 percent, to 10,360 in 1998 from 2,778 in 1987.
The study did not deal with milder forms of the disorder, like Asperger syndrome.

The numbers were surprising, Dr. Byrd said. The traditional estimate was that 4 or 5 children out of 10,000 might develop autism.
Instead, it appeared that 10 children in every 10,000 were seriously autistic, meaning they suffered from a brain disorder that left
them unable to speak or compulsively performing repetitive motions like flapping their arms or rocking.

After the period studied, the number of autistic children continued to rise, to 18,460 cases as of July 2002, according to the
California Department of Developmental Services.

In response to the study, the legislature directed the MIND Institute, an autism research center at the University of California at
Davis, to investigate.

"We wondered if the increase was real," Dr. Byrd said. "Maybe we were doing a better job of finding cases. Maybe there was an
increase in awareness of autism. The movie `Rain Man' was very popular."

California has a system of 21 regional centers that diagnose developmental disorders and provide services to children with them.
Dr. Byrd and his team mined these centers for data.

Researchers sent questionnaires to the parents of 684 children with full-spectrum autism or mental retardation. About half were
teenagers, born from 1983 to 1985; the others were ages 7 to 9, born a decade later.

If the criteria for diagnosing autism had changed in those 10 years or if the definition had broadened, the mystery would be solved,
Dr. Byrd said. But the standards used to diagnose full-spectrum autism were the same in both age groups, he said.

Some people suggested that the centers might diagnose autism so families would receive more generous state assistance. But the
centers have no incentive to do so, Dr. Byrd said, since they do not receive more state financing for identifying more children with
disabilities.

The study also considered whether children in the older group were incorrectly classified as mentally retarded, when they were in
fact autistic. But the rate of misdiagnosis was about the same in both groups, Dr. Byrd said.

Still another possibility — that large numbers of families with autistic children had moved into California — was discarded when it
turned out that most children in both groups were born in California. A general increase in population accounted for about 10
percent of the rise in autism, Dr. Byrd said. The rest remains a mystery.

There also were no significant differences over time in sex, race or parental education. Parents of the older children were more
likely to report mental retardation along with autism, but the finding did not explain the rising incidence.

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273% in 11 years!!!
my!

? ?
a radical idea as to "why", from me.
more young souls entering the world! *really* young souls! first timers! thus to be a Human: this could be the very first Incarnation, thus it is ALL that many can do just be BE here!
this is the timepoint of Graduation for us all older souls. just like when Jesus Ascended and took all that class with him, leaving only younger souls behind to have the dark age where even Perspectives were not used in paintings and that Spirit took out most of the references in the Bible to reincarnation AS spirit did that so not to disturb the young souls with too too much info!
so if we older souls were to Love these autistic kids and show them care and love: this will be a very good start for them, on the long long road of incarnations, in the 12,000 years ahead, as we all live now in Spirit worlds, perhaps guiding them all from above!
we too were once young souls, thousands of years ago, have sympathy for the freshmen classmates as we too were once freshmen just like these! and the "autistics"? why they will become old souls some day....rembrandts...Einsteins...