Posts Tagged ‘CDC’

Autism advocates, federal officials testify to Congress about autism rates, vaccines, and research

December 2, 2012

Autism advocates and government officials testified in front of a congressional committee Thursday about the federal response to the dramatic increase in autism diagnoses in recent years.

One in every 88 babies born in the U.S. will develop autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a 23 percent increase since 2009 and a 78 percent increase since 2007. In the 1960s, autism was believed to affect one in 10,000 children in the U.S.

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee questioned representatives of the National Institutes of Health and CDC about research priorities and subsequent results. A second panel of autism advocates testified about concerns ranging from research priorities to services for people with autism. See the video here.

Some of the committee members harshly criticized the NIH and CDC for a lack of effective results, while agency officials at times struggled to come up with answers.

Some highlights from the hearing:

Congressmen, led by Rep. Dan Burton (R-IL), a longtime proponent of vaccine safety, urged NIH and CDC to get mercury out of all childhood vaccines. Thimerosal, a mercury preservative, was removed from most, but not all childhood vaccines by 2003.

Representatives of NIH and CDC claimed that much, and possibly all of the increase in autism rates can be accounted for by better detection, a claim that was questioned by many congressmen and disputed by Mark Blaxill of SafeMinds.

“Some observers have claimed this rise is not real,” Blaxill told the committee. “That numbers are going up because of ‘better diagnosing.’ While it is true that we now diagnose autism with better tools, that doesn’t mean there is some ‘hidden horde’ of overlooked autism cases. The old surveys didn’t just miss 99% of children with autism. Anyone who reads them will see the obvious: it’s clear the researchers were diligent in finding cases and confident that they found the vast majority of children. It’s horrible but true; reported rates of autism have risen simply because there are more cases of autism.”

Blaxill also urged the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee to focus on environmental causes of autism instead of genetics.

Vaccine critics have also questioned why the government hasn’t conducted studies of vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), asked this very question of Collen Boyle of the CDC.

She talked about vaccines in general, then was interrupted by Posey, who clarified the question: “So clearly, definitely, unequivocally, you have studied vaccinated versus unvaccinated?”

“We have not studied vaccinated versus unvaccinated,” replied Boyle.

“Never mind. Stop there. That was the meaning of my question. You wasted two minutes of my time,” said Posey.

To read the entire article on Examiner.com, click here.

New CDC medical diagnosis code expected to help prevent autism wandering

July 26, 2011

A medical diagnosis code for wandering was announced by the Centers for Disease Control last Tuesday, a move intended to prevent wandering among people with autism and other disorders and diseases. The code will go into effect October 1 and will be identified as “wandering in conditions classified elsewhere” (V40.31). The code was announced at the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee meeting in Bethesda, MD, and was welcomed by autism advocates. Although the code is not specifically linked to autism or any other disorder or disease, it is hoped that the code will improve safety for those vulnerable to wandering, which include those with autism, cognitive disabilities, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Wandering and subsequent drownings are leading causes of death for children with autism, who are often prone to wandering, fascinated by water, and unaware of danger.  Many of these children are also impulsive and nonverbal.  In 2010, at least nine children with autism died in the U.S. after wandering, all of them by drowning. The trend has continued in 2011, with multiple incidents of deaths due to wandering. For each death, there are countless near-misses of mostly young children with autism who wander from homes and schools.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

15 articles from 2010 every parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder should read

January 15, 2011

One of the major educational and therapeutic trends in autism in 2010 was an increase in meaningful, developmental autism therapies that incorporate social, emotional and cognitive skills to enhance traditional behavioral methods.

On the research front, scientists increasingly recognized and acknowledged that autism is largely environmental and not solely genetic.

And while devastating tragedies occurred, out of those heartbreaks came greater awareness and safety measures that will ultimately save the lives of vulnerable children.

Examiner.com‘s Mike Frandsen takes a look back at some of the articles from 2010 that reflected critical issues in the world of autism.

Mason Alert would help prevent wandering, drowning deaths of kids with autism

Mason Alert to be combined with Take Me Home program to prevent autism wandering

Dr. Stanley Greenspan dies, founded Floortime and developmental approaches to autism therapy

Teaching, coaching sports, playing with children with autism: rewarding, but also a whole lot of fun

Play dates for kids with autism can enhance social skills, emotional awareness, and learning

Using humor, puppets in play therapy can enhance social, communication skills for kids with autism

Understanding and managing emotions are important life and social skills for children with autism

Sports and exercise for children with autism can improve social and cognitive skills

Top 10 mistakes, lessons learned from therapy programs for children with autism spectrum disorders

Landrigan calls for more research into pesticides, toxic chemicals, environmental causes of autism

Autism advocate Lyn Redwood discusses mercury vaccine controversy, chelation, treatment and recovery

Interview with Dan Olmsted, Mark Blaxill: ‘Age of Autism-Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic’

Congress: CDC misled public about Washington, D.C. lead in water crisis, lead was toxic for some

Facilitated Communication (FC) enables non-verbal people on autism spectrum to communicate by typing

HHS, NIH and other federal agencies should hire more employees with autism and other disabilities

For the rest of the article on Examiner.com, click here.

CDC says Washington, D.C. homes with partial lead replacements are at risk for high lead in water

December 13, 2010

A December CDC report states that nearly 15,000 Washington, D.C. homes that have had partial lead line replacements are at risk for high lead levels.  See the article here on Examiner.com.

The problem started around 2000 when D.C. responded to a 1998 EPA mandate to reduce chlorine byproducts that could be carcinogenic.  Chlorine was used to disinfect the water supply, but then chloramine was used to reduce chlorine byproducts. However, chloramine caused lead pipes to leach into the water, and much of the city’s infrastructure was made of lead pipes. Lead causes irreversible brain damage to fetuses and infants.  After children tested high for lead from 2003 to 2004, two bad things happened.  First, both the city and the CDC covered up the problem, lying about it, claiming that the water was safe when they knew it wasn’t.  Second, the city embarked on a $100 million project to replace lead service lines with copper, but they stopped when they got to private property.  The chloramine caused lead to leach from the water, causing a temporary spike in lead levels, making the problem worse.

Congress came out with a report last spring that said CDC used false data to mislead the public in a 2004 report.  CDC then admitted wrongdoing, and two weeks ago published a report that stated that nearly 15,000 homes with partial lead line replacements were still at risk for high lead levels.  Those homes should be tested.

I think that’s it, but it’s pretty confusing.  Welcome to the D.C. lead in water fiasco, circa 2000-2010.  Makes the Redskins problems seem not so bad.

Also, here is an article from June about a congressional report that said CDC misled the D.C. public about the safety of drinking water, which had high levels of lead from 2001 to 2004.

Congress: CDC misled public about Washington, D.C. lead in water crisis, lead was toxic for some

June 3, 2010

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recklessly misled the public about the safety of lead levels in the water in Washington, D.C. between 2001 and 2004, according to a disturbing and damning congressional report released last month.

The Report, “A Public Health Tragedy: How Flawed CDC Data and Faulty Assumptions Endangered Children’s Health,” was conducted by the House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the Committee on Science and Technology.

The congressional investigation found that a 2004 CDC report that was rushed to calm the fears of the public after the D.C. lead scare used flawed data to come to the inaccurate conclusion that lead levels in the water were safe. The discredited report, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), has since been widely quoted by media and government agencies across the nation to tell the public that drinking water containing high levels of lead is not a health hazard.

Environmental health problems often affect poor, minority residents disproportionately. In D.C., lead levels were worst in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, in Southeast and Northeast. See a Washington Post map of lead test results from 2003 to 2004.

More examples of how environmental problems affect disadvantaged people, and how fetuses, infants, and young children are affected most by toxicants is seen in CNN’s series “Toxic America” June 2 and 3 as Sanjay Gupta reports on environmental health hazards.

To see the rest of my article on examiner.com, click here.


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