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The medical publication The Lancet has fully retracted a flawed study linking measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism and bowel disease, CNN reports.
The British-based journal acted after Britain's General Medical Council ruled last week that researcher Andrew Wakefield had been dishonest and unethical in gathering data for his 1998 study.
Over the past decade, autism has made a steady climb from obscure syndrome to what seems like a pervasive developmental disorder. And now more bad news: A new federal study estimates that the prevalence is more likely about 1 in 100 children, The New York Times and The Associated Press report. Currently there are an estimated 673,000 children with autism in the U.S.
Special diets for development and learning disabilities have been controversial for decades—especially when it comes to dealing with autism in children. Many parents try gluten- or casein-free diets in hopes that their kids will fare better. However, new research finds that autism is not linked to stomach problems, despite a common theory that there is a tie between the two, The New York Times reports.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians screen for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) starting at 18 months of age, researchers have identified several potential signs in infants.
I’ll tell you what I tell my patients: There is no proof that vaccines cause autism. But there is some agreement that they may trigger autism and other problems in a small group of susceptible children. That’s why I prefer to customize a vaccination schedule for each child. This type of amended schedule is spelled out very well in 2008’s The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, by Robert Sears, M.D., but it is still loudly criticized by the American Academy of Pediatrics and some other experts.
Autism and similar disorders typically can be diagnosed by 18 months, but many children aren't diagnosed until they are 3 years of age or older. This delay should not happen. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, parents should watch for five warning signs of autism: the baby doesn't babble or coo by 12 months; doesn't gesture (point, wave or grasp) by 12 months; doesn't say single words by 16 months; doesn't say two-word phrases on his own by 24 months; or experiences a loss of any language or social skill at any age.
A recent Israeli study of more than 300,000 young adults showed that autism rates in the offspring of men who were 40 or older when their babies were conceived were almost six times that of the children of fathers 29 or younger. (The study found no link between autism and maternal age.) The researchers are now looking for reasons; there is speculation that sperm-producing cells spontaneously mutate as men age.
Much more study of paternal age is needed if we are to better understand its impact.
Pediatricians and parents need to be more aware of the first signs of autism, two new studies suggest. That's because early intervention can improve a child's development and in some cases even reverse the disorder. In a study of Atlanta children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)--which include classic autism as well as its milder forms, such as Asperger syndrome--researchers found an average 13-month delay between first evaluation and diagnosis.
Worry has always been a side effect of pregnancy. But one anxiety--will my baby be normal?--has recently come to include a new concern: autism. First identified in 1943, the disorder is commanding unprecedented interest, mostly because of the reported rise in its incidence, but also because its origins lie in the fascinating crux between genes and the environment. "Autism is primarily genetic, but something beyond genes is also involved," says pediatric neurologist Andrew Zimmerman, M.D., an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine