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Living in an area with high levels of air pollution may increase a woman’s chances of having a child with autism, according to the first national study.

NEWEST STUDY: A recent study conducted in Western Pennsylvania. The study studied which certain air pollutants may place a child at an increased risk for developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This specific region was chosen for the study as a consequence of the high number of cases reported in the area along with certain environmental factors being especially present.

The researchers found links between increased levels of chromium and styrene and childhood autism spectrum disorder, a condition that affects one in 68 children. Children who fell into higher exposure groups of styrene and chromium were at a 1.4- to two-fold greater risk of ASD, after accounting for the age of the mother, maternal cigarette smoking, race and education.

Styrene is used in plastics and paints and is a product of combustion from burning gasoline in vehicles. Air pollution containing chromium is typically the result of the industrial process from industries such as steel manufacturing. Other air pollutants – including cyanide, methylene chloride, methanol and arsenic – were also linked to increased autism risk in children.

SECOND STUDY: Earlier studies have established a potential connection between air pollution and autism risk, but have concentrated on a few individual states. The latest study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives on Tuesday, draws on a large sample of women across the whole country.

HARVARD MAY-14 STUDY: Children in the Harvard research were from Utah and all other states in the nation, born between 1987 and 2002, and studied to correlate pollution levels in the area where the mother lived while pregnant. Data showed that the children who developed autism were statistically more likely to have been exposed to high levels of air pollution in the womb. Children in the womb are known to be susceptible to neurological or genetic damage when exposed to heavy metals and diesel exhaust pollutants.

USC 2013 STUDY: Exposure to air pollution appears to increase the risk for autism among people who carry a genetic disposition for the neurodevelopmental disorder. Air pollution exposure was determined based on the past residences of the children and their mothers, local traffic-related sources, and regional air quality measures.


Source: EHP, Harvard, USC, Univ of Pittsburg

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All along parents have been eager to blame vaccines for Autism.

In further confirmation, a third study this week from California specifically links autism spectrum disorders to pesticide exposure. In the new study, about a third of mothers had living within a mile of fields treated with pesticides, most commonly organophosphates, were 60 percent more likely to have an autism spectrum disorders than children of non-exposed mothers, per Environmental Health Perspectives. For some pesticides, exposure seemed to be most important just before conception and in the third trimester, but for others it didn’t seem to matter when during pregnancy women were exposed.

Organophosphate (OP) compounds are a diverse group of chemicals used in both domestic and industrial settings. Examples of organophosphates include insecticides (malathion, parathion, diazinon, fenthion, dichlorvos, chlorpyrifos, ethion), nerve gases (soman, sarin, tabun, VX), ophthalmic agents (echothiophate, isoflurophate), and antihelmintics (trichlorfon). Herbicides (tribufos [DEF], merphos) are tricresyl phosphate–containing industrial chemicals.


Don’t spray for cockroaches every month. Instead use integrated pest management – i.e. seal up cracks and crevices in the home, clean up food residue, try non-toxic options and use chemical pesticides the last resort. Also stop using organophosphates and pyrethroids inside the home.

Learn more at: http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/

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Autism is a "disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behavior."

Prior to the 1990s, the prevalence of autism in the United States was estimated at 1 in 2,500. In 2007, that rate was 1 in 150. In March, the CDC announced new, startling numbers: 1 in 68. What’s going on?

The meteoric rise in diagnoses has prompted many to cry "epidemic!" Fearful, they look for a reason, and often latch onto vaccines.

But vaccines are not the cause. The most likely explanation is far less frightening.

Over the past decades, the diagnostic criteria for autism have been significantly loosened. Each of the last three major revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM) has made it much easier for psychiatrists to diagnose the disorder. When a 2005 study conducted in England tracked autism cases between 1992 and 1998 using identical diagnostic criteria, the rates didn’t budge.

Read more: http://www.realclearscience.com/lists/10_myths_psychology/#ixzz2yIvAfIyK

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What is autism?

Autism is a brain disorder that often makes it hard to communicate with and relate to others. With autism different areas of the brain fail to work together. Most people with autism will always have some trouble relating to others. But early diagnosis and treatment have helped more and more people who have autism to reach their full potential.

What are the causes?

The exact cause for autism is unknown.

Autism is generally thought to be hereditary. It runs in families, so experts think genes are responsible for passing down autism in families.

Other studies are looking at whether autism can be caused by other medical problems or by something in your child’s surroundings.

Researchers are finding that when it comes to autism and ADHD, genetics is only part of the story. There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today, but less than 2000 have been tested for their long term impact on human health, even though all others are on store shelves and are sold daily.

The US alone spends about $35 billion a year trying to figure out the autism mystery.

Autism Factors

• Lead: shown to cause brain damage to developing babies, causing a lifetime of learning and health implications. Lead is also linked to depression in teens. It is often found in old paint and brightly colored toys (typically made in China). A diet low in fat and high in calcium and iron, with foods like low-fat dairy and leafy green vegetables, can help block some harmful effects of lead exposure.

• Mercury: is toxic to the brains of developing fetuses and could cause irreversible damage. Fish is the No. 1 source of human exposure. Mercury has also been detected in high-fructose corn syrup. Avoid fish. If you cannot, eat wild-caught Alaskan salmon or Pacific wild sardines.

• PCBs: Even small doses can disrupt healthy nerve cell functioning and throw off the body’s natural calcium signaling, which could increase some children’s autism risk. PCBs are found all over the environment—and inside most of us. To avoid eat lower on the food chain. PCBs accumulate in animal fat. Removing fish skin and trimming fatty parts of meat can help cut back on your family’s PCB exposure.

• Organochlorine Pesticides: are implicated in birth defect and autism clusters. It is more common in farming communities, and where bug-killing chemical are extensively used. Support organic farming to reduce your risk of eating pesticide residues, as well as to protect people who live near or work on chemical farm operations. Greatest exposure comes from snap beans, tomatoes, and watermelons, so buy these items organic.

• Air Pollution: Recent studies link air pollution from vehicle exhaust to memory problems, brain damage, and an increased risk of autism. A prior study found that children born to women living within 1,000 feet of major highways are twice as likely to be diagnosed with autism years later. Drive less or carpool to cut back on air pollution, commute during less busy hours, and if you live close to a major roadway, consider investing in a high-quality air purifier that does not produce ozone.

• Brominated Flame Retardants: Over the long term, children born to mothers with high levels of these chemicals in their bodies have lower IQs and perform more poorly in mental and physical development testing. They’re found in furniture, electronics, certain sodas and sports drinks, and even household dust. Avoid furniture that meets California’s TB117 law, a regulation that promotes the use of flame retardant chemicals. Be diligent about wet-mopping in the house and use a HEPA-filter-equipped vacuum to reduce flame retardant–laced dust. Opt for natural flooring materials, not carpeting and carpet padding, which could harbor flame retardants. As for the beverage aisle, steer clear of Mountain Dew and certain Gatorade and Powerade flavors that list BVO—brominated vegetable oil, a flame retardant.

• Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): This carcinogens is formed when meat is burned. PAHs are also among a category of 10,000 chemicals created from the burning of oil, garbage, coal, or wood. The compounds can damage DNA, hamper normal development, and impair fetal growth. Aside from burned meat, BBQ, Grilled meats, PAHs are abundant in coal-tar-based driveway sealants and anti-dandruff shampoos, cigarette smoke, and mothballs. Eat less meat. Opt for nontoxic mothball alternatives, avoid cigarette smoke, and look for safer driveway sealants that are free of coal-tar ingredients.

• Organophosphate Pesticides: Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide, is still one of the most widely used farm chemicals in the U.S. Its residues has turned up on apples, bell peppers, cranberries, kale, grapes, peaches, and dozens of other foods. Eat organic as often as possible. Studies have proven that pesticide levels in the body plummet when consumers switch to an organic eating regimen.

• Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals: Pre-pregnancy exposure to even tiny doses of hormone-disrupting chemicals could irreversibly alter a child’s health. Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are prime suspects linked to social and aggression problems in children, along with stunted growth, learning disabilities, and lower IQ. These chemicals are used in hundreds of everyday products, including soaps, shampoos, cleaners, and air fresheners. Keep BPA out of your system. Avoid canned foods and beverages, as well as No. 7 plastics. To reduce phthalate exposure, cut off scented candles and air fresheners, and avoid personal care products that list "parfum" or "fragrance" as an ingredient.

• Nonstick Chemicals: Studies suggest that the nonstick coating in cookware cookwaremight be a culprit in ADHD in children and high cholesterol and infertility issues in adults. It is typically found in nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and certain stain-repelling fabrics used in carpeting and furniture. Replace it with cast iron or untreated stainless steel. Also, pass on furniture and carpet treatments offering stain protection.

• Oxybenzone: the active ingredient in many sunscreens, is a hormone disruptor. Buy sunscreen without them.

• Thalidomide—Not commonly used in the U.S., this sedative drug has been linked to an increase in autism and other birth defects.

• Misoprostol—This drug is licensed in the U.S. for use in preventing gastric ulcers, but it’s used in other countries for abortions.

• Valproic acid—This medication is used to control epilepsy. And known to cause increased autism risk.

• Prenatal rubella infection: A woman infected while pregnant also faces a higher risk of having a child with other developmental problems, eye problems, deafness, or heart problems.

• Toxic clothing: Convenience clothing may significantly affect your health. Claims like "wrinkle-free," "waterproof," "mildew-resistant," "antimicrobial," "permanent press," or "stain-proof" should raise a red flag. They’re likely loaded with chemicals that have never been properly tested to determine their full impact on your health.

• Water. Tap water and some bottled water could contain pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and even components of rocket fuel (perchlorate). Look for an NSF-certified filter that removes most of these toxins.

What are the treatments?

Autism is a condition that once affected 1 in 10,000 children now affecting 1 in 88 children. Latest research reveals a number of factors leading to Autism.

Special behavioral training is one of the treatments for Autism.

Behavioral training rewards good behaviors to teach children social skills and to teach them how to communicate and how to help themselves as they grow older.

Other things that parents can do:

1. Prenatal vitamins: Children whose mothers reported having taken prenatal vitamins during the three months leading up to conception or the first month of pregnancy were significantly less likely to have been diagnosed with autism than children whose mothers had not — about 40% less likely.

2. Reducing inflammation by improving nutrition, healing the gut and detoxifying the body are the more effective ways to treat autism naturally.

(Keep in mind that specific treatments of vitamins, minerals and other supplements are based upon the individual’s uniqueness.)

• Heal the gut. Get the child tested for other food allergens and eliminate them from his diet. Most often gluten is a culprit, but there are plenty of others too.

• Some practinioners use anti-fungal supplements to get rid of yeast overgrowth. Supplement with probiotics to restore bacteria and digestive enzymes can help aid digestion.

• Have your child eat only real, whole, organic, unprocessed, chemical, hormone and antibiotic free food. No Trans fats, no high fructose corn syrup, no pesticides, no GMOs, no canned processed or food in boxes.

• Plant food should be the foundation of your diet. Eat only vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, nuts, whole grains, herbs and spices, organic fish, chicken and eggs.

3. Vaccines do not cause Autism. Do not stop vaccination.

4. Favor glass and stainless steel over plastic containers. Avoid canned foods.

5. Be careful when remodeling old lead paint based homes & vinyl flooring

6. Eat right: Women trying to get pregnant, or who are pregnant, indulge in foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, egg yolks, dried beans, lentils, spinach, nuts, strawberries, tempeh, yogurt, and lettuce. This collection of foods is rich in folic acid, antioxidants, vitamin B12, and choline.

7. Detox your daily personal care chemicals. See their rating on Environmental Working Group’s website.

8. Speak up. Ultimately, it shouldn’t be your job to avoid toxic chemicals—they shouldn’t be on store shelves in the first place. Share information with your elected officials and tell them to make chemical reform a priority.

9. Buy organic from some of these trusted brands

• Organic Valley

• Woodstock

• Bob’s Red Mill

• Dr. Bronner’s

• Earth Mama Angel Baby

• Ava Anderson Non-Toxic

• NYR Organic

• Stonyfield

• Amy’s

• Annie’s

• Applegate Farms

• Pangea

• Dr. Hauschka

• Badger

• Intelligent Nutrients

• Jason (toothpaste)

• Eden Organics

• Nature’s Path

• Rudy’s Bakery

• GT’s Kombucha

• Newman’s Own

• Garden of Life Raw Vitamins

• The Honest Company

• Environmental Water Systems




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Autism is a developmental brain disorder.

Early screening is important. The earlier it can be determined that a child has autism, the sooner he or she can get help. Parents who want a screening for their child should be seek a pediatric neurologist. It’s also imperative to get treatment early because in some states, insurance companies cover specific therapies only until the child reaches age 7, after which time payment must be made out of pocket.

Some parents believe the vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) has caused the spike in autism. autism symptoms usually appear when a child is between 18 months and 3 years of age, the same age when vaccination shots peak. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), and at the American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org), agree that the MMR vaccine is not responsible for the rise in cases of autism. Base decisions on facts, rather than on fear.

Food can become a major issue because these children often choose their foods selectively.To make matters worse, some children with autism have poor chewing skills, or may refuse to eat solid foods. There are NO miracles diets. Some vouch by gluten-free or dairy-free diets. Autism is a complex disorder, and a well-balanced diet is always best for a child.

These kids may exhibit behavior —which may include tantrums, self-injury and aggressiveness. These are learned behavior. The behavior is a way for a child with autism to communicate the need for attention or to escape from an undesirable situation. Learn to read the cues and change your behavior to avoid stressful time.

A child who is autistic is a strain, especially on siblings. Be upfront and honest with your other children about why the sibling with autism needs extra care. If possible, involve siblings in the care giving.

Beware of what you read.Because autism expresses itself differently in every child, only a small percentage of the vast amount of information online may be applicable to your child’s situation.

Find a board-certified behavior analyst who can help assess the motivation behind the disruptive behavior at www.bacb.com.

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Pregnant women exposed to heavy diesel pollution are twice as likely to have an autistic child as those living in areas with low pollution, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health. The results add to a growing body of research linking air pollution to autism.


There is no known single cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism versus typical children. No one gene has been identified as causing autism.

Autism tends to occur more frequently than expected among individuals who have certain medical conditions, including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU). Some harmful substances ingested during pregnancy also have been associated with an increased risk of autism.

Research indicates that other factors besides the genetic component are contributing to the rise in increasing occurrences of autism, such as environmental toxins (e.g., heavy metals such as mercury), which are more prevalent in our current environment than in the past. Per research, high air concentrations of diesel, mercury, lead, manganese, and methylene chloride significantly increase the risk of giving birth to a child with autism.

Link to vaccines: One of the greatest controversies in autism is centered on whether a link exists between autism and certain childhood vaccines, particularly the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Despite extensive research, no reliable study has shown a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Avoiding childhood vaccinations can place your child in danger of catching and spreading serious diseases, including whooping cough (pertussis), measles or mumps.


1% of the population of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder. Prevalence is estimated at 1 in 88 births significantly up from 1 in 150 in 90s. 1 to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. It is the fastest-growing developmental disability with 1,148% growth rate.

But most importantly, the cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.


Researchers identified diesel as the most dangerous pollutant linked to autism. Diesel pollution is strongest within 1,500 feet of major roads and highways. Be careful how much exposure you have to pollutants. If necessary, wear a mask.

Expectant mothers should take prenatal vitamins and eat foods high in healthy oils, stay away from cigarette smoke, and maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy, all of which have been shown to reduce the risk of have having a child with autism.



BMJ: Wakefield Paper Alleging Link between MMR Vaccine and Autism Fraudulent

January 6, 2011 by Project Staff
In the wake of a paper published in the Lancet in 1998, vaccination rates in Britain plummeted. The lead author of the paper, Andrew Wakefield, rose to prominence as a result of his claims that the combination measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine had caused autism in the 12 children in the study, and frightened parents began to delay or completely refuse vaccination for their children, both in Britain and the United States. Since then, outbreaks of previously eliminated diseases have sickened and killed children in both countries.Over the next twelve years, the possibility of a link between MMR and autism was studied exhaustively. No reputable, relevant study confirmed Wakefield’s findings; instead, many well-designed studies have found no link between MMR and autism.In 2004, the Lancet stated that it should not have published Wakefield’s paper, with then-editor Dr. Richard Horton noting that Wakefield had a “fatal conflict of interest” when conducting the research. The majority of the co-authors of the study subsequently retracted the findings in the paper, and in 2010, the Lancet formally retracted the paper itself.Three months later, in May 2010, Britain’s General Medical Council banned Wakefield from practicing medicine in Britain, stating that he had shown “callous disregard” for children in the course of his research. The council also cited previously uncovered information about Wakefield’s research being partially funded by lawyers hoping to sue vaccine manufacturers on behalf of parents of children with autism.

On Wednesday, January 5, the British Medical Journal published a report by Brian Deer, a British journalist who had previously reported on flaws in Wakefield’s work. For this new report, Deer spoke with parents of children from the retracted study and found evidence that Wakefield actually committed research fraud by falsifying data about the children’s conditions.

Specifically, Deer reports that while the paper claimed that eight of the study’s 12 children showed either gastrointestinal or autism-like symptoms days after vaccination, records instead show that at most two children experienced these symptoms in this time frame. Additionally, while the paper claimed that all 12 of the children were “previously normal” before vaccination with MMR, at least two had developmental delays that were noted in their records before the vaccination took place.

After examining the records for all 12 children, Deer noted that the statements made in the paper did not match numbers from the records in any category: the children having regressive autism; non-specific colitis; or first symptoms within days after receiving the MMR vaccine. The Lancet paper claimed that six of the children had all three of these conditions; according to the records, not a single child actually did. (See a table that breaks down the comparison between the Lancet numbers and the medical records here.)

In an accompanying editorialBMJ editor in chief Fiona Godlee and co-authors Jane Smith and Harvey Marcovitch examine the damage to public health caused by a tiny study based on parental recall with no control group – a study that turned out to be almost entirely fraudulent, but whose impact continues to this day.

Although the findings of Wakefield’s paper have long been discredited by scientists, the evidence that the data itself was falsified makes this report by the BMJ a landmark moment in the history of vaccines. Evidence is strong that this study should not have been published not merely because it was poorly conducted, but instead because it was a product of research fraud. After more than 12 years of panic, fear, and confusion over the possibility of autism being linked to vaccines, this “MMR scare” chapter of vaccine history may finally draw to a close.

In addition to the British Medical Journal’s report and accompanying editorial, news outlets worldwide have devoted time to coverage of this story. Links to some of this coverage are provided below.

Brian Deer’s report at the British Medical Journal, “How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed” —http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347.full

Accompanying editorial by Fiona Godlee, Jane Smith, and Harvey Marcovitch, “Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent” — http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7452.full

MedPage Today’s coverage of the BMJ report by John Gever, “BMJ Lifts Curtain on MMR-Autism Fraud” —http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/Autism/24203

CNN’s coverage via Anderson Cooper 360:

ABC News: