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Autism

Autism rates surge, say UK researchers

Friday, July 14, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: autism, children's health, health news


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(NewsTarget) -- A recent study by UK researchers reveals that autism may affect one in every 100 children in Britain, a substantial increase over previous numbers.

Researchers from Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital in London examined 57,000 nine- and 10-year-olds in 2001, and found that 116 out of every 10,000 children were affected by autistic disorders ranging from "classic" childhood autism to milder conditions, such as Asperger's syndrome.

The researchers' findings show a marked increase in the numbers of autistic children since the 1990s, when experts say only four or five children out of every 10,000 suffered from an autistic disorder.

"Prevalence of autism and related ASDs (autism spectrum disorders) is substantially higher than previously recognized," says lead researcher Gillian Baird. "Whether the increase is due to better ascertainment, broadening diagnostic criteria, or increased incidence is unclear." Baird also called for health, education and social services to recognize and be prepared to handle autistic children's special needs.

While the cause of autism is unknown, some say thimerosal -- a mercury-laden vaccine preservative often used in childhood vaccinations -- could be responsible for the recent increase in autism cases. Health advocates point out that autism was nearly non-existent prior to the widespread use of synthetic chemicals in foods, drugs, cosmetics and vaccines. Author Randall Fitzgerald's book, "The Hundred Year Lie: How Food and Medicine are Destroying Your Health," reveals the harmful effects of such chemicals on humans and the environment.

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