Last night I briefly popped over to a pub run by some friends of mine, and in the maybe ten minutes I was there, we began talking about autism. The waitress, who is a friend of mine, has a cousin or nephew who was diagnosed as autistic, and so she knows a bit about the disease. I gently dispelled a few of the comments she made; she was in no way launching antivax propaganda, simply saying things she’s heard about the disease, like that they knew it was environmental and that the rates were on the increase. To her great credit, she was open to the conversation and when I presented alternative viewpoints, she was curious and interested. I give her that credit because far too often I have this same conversation with people who wish to tell me vehemently that I am wrong and in the pocket of the drug companies (which, judging by the state of my clothes and domestic environment, I am clearly not) simply because I disagree.
Imagine my pleasure, then, when I signed on to Science-Based Medicine and read Steven Novella’s fantastic article called The Early Course Of Autism, in which he reviews a prospective study that followed a bunch of children and attempted to determine when the behavioral signs were first capable of detection. It is studies like this that take an intelligent approach to the problem of ASD, rather than so many which are spent either trying to prove or disprove a culprit for the disease.
Read the study and the article so I don’t have to rewrite it here, because that’s weenie. Done? Sweet.
The findings were quite interesting as well, but conceptually came as no shock to me. They found that those early signs of autism were first visible in the half-a-year-old to a-year-old time-frame. Obviously this moves against the notion from so many parents that their child first displayed symptoms at or around the age of two, right when they got their MMR vaccine. However, this to me makes sense.
The researchers are actively looking for certain behaviors, but the parents are not. Because these are not glaringly obvious symptoms like seizures or suddenly turning orange and blue, it’s like trying to notice the spot in the ocean where a wave starts. By the time you can tell it’s a wave, it’s already been a wave for some time.
At any rate, I found it intriguing and figured I’d share it with you. Cuz I’m sweet.