New Study Explains That The U.S Is Facing An Autism “Tsunami”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • A new study claims the U.S. is facing a “tsunami” of future autism cases and ever-increasing costs.

    • The study projects autism’s annual costs in the U.S. will jump to $589 billion by 2030 and $5.54 trillion by 2060.

    • A great deal of science points to environmental factors, like pesticides, as a cause for autism, not genetics.

  • Reflect On:
    • Why does the genetic theory of autism still dominate the conversation when it comes to the cause of autism?

    • Why aren't proper resources allocated to further study the environmental causes of autism?

    • Why don't autism awareness foundations bring this issue to light?

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Autism rates have been skyrocketing at an exponential rate for a number of years. According to a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the United States (U.S.) is facing a “tsunami” of future autism cases and ever-increasing costs.

The study projected autism’s annual costs in the U.S. over the next 40 years will jump from the current $238 billion to $589 billion by 2030, $1.36 trillion by 2040 and $5.54 trillion by 2060.

Parents know first-hand about the enormous costs of autism…We worry about what will happen to our kids after we are gone. In every scenario, governments need to raise trillions of dollars in new revenue to pay for services and figure out what is causing the autism epidemic.

Lead Author Mark Blaxill

This is something many people in the field have been warning about for quite some time, yet it’s not something the general public is really aware of despite the fact that in North America, autism rates are approximately 1 in every 60 children, with the majority of them being boys.

This statistic begs the question, what causes autism?

Autism is a very large spectrum, and it is usually diagnosed based on behaviour as opposed to brain scans. You may have one child at one end of the spectrum who clearly has difficulty with communication, is extremely sensitive to physical touch, may have ‘tics’ and or obsessive compulsive “rituals”, all while at the other end one may seem perfectly “normal” to the point where you would never suspect an autism diagnosis.

This is why it’s not out of the question to ponder whether or not some kids who have an autism diagnosis have been misdiagnosed, and this is the problem simply diagnosing someone based on behaviour.

That said, what you find biologically in one child with severe autism may not be found in another child who has an autism diagnosis but appears to be “high functioning.” This may include certain brain deformities, for example. Sadly, it seems quite rare that these children go through such testing given the fact that, again, it’s a condition that’s usually based on behaviour. That being said, a “high functioning” autistic person seems to be rare, and as time moves on we are looking at an epidemic of damaged children.

There is little doubt that abnormal physical changes are a characteristic of autism in general, and there seems to be some sort of “damage” biologically.

For example, as early as 2002, both Finegold and Ashwood independently found more inflammation and higher clostridia counts in regressive versus non-regressive ASD children. In 2012, Finegold discovered that kids with regressive ASD have very unusual bowel flora compared to non-regressive ASD. Also in 2012, Wasilewska found that kids with regressive autism have impaired immune systems and very low IgA and B cell activation.

In 2013, Theoharides discovered significant brain inflammation is most severe in cases of regressive autism. In 2014, Mezzelani found a far greater degree of bowel problems and dysbiosis in regressive versus non-regressive kids. In 2019, Ferguson found a strong relationship between regressive autism and gastrointestinal problems.

There are a number of examples like the ones listed above. The idea that autism is a result of genetics and genetics alone doesn’t seem be the case anymore, and more scientists are pointing towards our overall environment as the culprit – food, water, air, toxins etc.

For example, a study published in Pediatric Health Medicine and Therapeutics concluded that there is “as significant relationship between mercury and autism.” It stated that the connection is so strong that mercury could be listed as a cause of autism.

Various studies have also implicated agricultural pesticides and herbicides. For example, maternal exposure to glyphosate will increase the risk of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis. If this is true, it brings industry into the equation.

RoundUp, the pesticide that contains glyphosate, is found all over the globe in rain water, soil, and other bodies of water. It unintentionally ends up on our non GMO produce.

It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safes pesticides. This idea is spread by manufacturers, mostly in the reviews they promote, which are often cited in toxicological evaluations of glyphosate-based herbicides. However, Roundup was found in this experiment to be 125 times more toxic than glyphosate. Moreover, despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.

R. Mesnage et al., Biomed Research International.

Here’s a great presentation that was put together by Dr. Stephanie Seneff, MIT, that goes deeper into the science of pesticides and autism. There is an enormous amount of literature out there on this connection.

There are several dozens of environmental factors that are now strongly linked to an autism diagnosis, and many of them are large revenue generating products that belong to corporations that, for years, have dominated government policy.

Perhaps this is why it’s not really a conversation being had within the mainstream?

Pesticides, herbicides, electromagnetic radiation, prescription drug use during fetal development, mercury, aluminum, lead, and various other substances that pollute our environment on a daily basis may be the culprit.

What would be the economic and financial implications to the companies that manufacture these products if they were all of a sudden branded as companies that are accelerating the autism epidemic?

Solutions will have to come from not just a change in diet, lifestyle and consumer purchasing, but a change in the way companies produce products that affect us whether we buy them or not. In order for those companies to make those changes, they will have to be incentivized to do so, which is unlikely in our current economic structure and therefore forces us to have to look at changing our systems as a whole.

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