With the election soon approaching, people will say anything to get people to vote for Obama or Romney. One of the things I saw on Twitter seriously irked me. It was a tweet from Donald Trump regarding the high rates of autism:
@realDonaldTrump: “Autism rates through the roof–why doesn’t the Obama administration do something about doctor-inflicted autism. We lose nothing to try.”
So Donald Trump is suggesting two things here: 1) The president has a direct influence over the rates of autism in the country (I’d like to see how that can be proved) and 2) Doctor-inflicted autism is a thing.
So first of all, if Obama should be blamed for the rise in autism, then I think Bush deserves equal blame for the rise in obesity, diabetes, infertility, and cancer during the 2000’s. Just sayin.
Secondly, there is absolutely no hard evidence that doctors can inflict autism on children without getting caught. There are a lot of modifiers to that sentence so I’ll break it down.
Most people think autism is administered via vaccines, even though all the research done on that theory has been debunked and it was proved that law firms payed researchers to botch data to publish those theories. So if your child is given a vaccine, with your consent, and develops autism, it’s not the doctor’s fault. It’s either the vaccine companies fault (which it has been proved dozens of times that it isn’t, hence the hard evidence) or your child just has autism that was either triggered by a prominent immune response (which is extremely rare) or your child just has autism. Parents assume vaccines give their kids autism because kids are taken for their MMR vaccines when they’re 12 months old, the same age when they start exhibiting signs of autism! Go figure!
Now, if your doctor had given your child a vaccine, without your consent, and your child developed autism, then it would be fair to say that the doctor was at fault however the doctor would be sued for medical malpractice and never be allowed to practice again. That’s the without getting caught part.
Now to understand why doctors can’t deliberately inflict autism or how the president has no control over autism rates, we have to understand autism. Unfortunately, autism is not extremely well understood because it is hard to research.
Autism is a developmental disorder that delays mental development of toddlers and children. It is typically diagnosed around age 2, but doctors are working on more methods to diagnose it earlier. The sooner autism is diagnosed, the more ways there are to treat it. Symptoms of autism include difficulty talking, difficulty making eye contact, attention deficit, lack of facial expressions, among others. Autism is also associated with mental retardation. About 75% of children born with autism are also mentally retarded. But what’s the difference between autism and retardation? Retardation involves a lack of the capacity to learn while autism is primarily a delay in learning. Some of the smartest people in the world are also autistic.
What causes autism? Certainly not vaccines. There is no definitive proof as to what causes autism because most researchers believe it happens with brain development while the baby is in utero. It can also be hereditary, considering autism affects boys 4 times more than girls. The rarest cases of autism come from infections, where the immune response damages the brain and causes autism-like symptoms. Childhood infections have also been linked to OCD, ADHD, and other mental disorders. Crazy parents use this theory of immune response against vaccines since vaccines produce a similar immune response, but the immune response in vaccines is not nearly as powerful as a real infection.
So why the rise in autism over the years? It’s actually several factors: 1) Women are having children at older ages. In the 20th Century the average age for having a child was in the late 20’s. Now in the 21st Century it’s in the low 30’s. While having a child when you’re 32 doesn’t pose a lot of risk, it’s usually the age when risk factors begin to rise. After age 35, the risk of a child being born with a mental defect doubles after every year. So imagine women having children when they’re 40, even 45 years old. Modern medicine has allowed women to get pregnant, but older mothers really shouldn’t be too surprised if/when their children are born with a defect.
2) Because women are having kids at older ages, they are using IVF more. IVF, in-vetro fertilization, is used when the woman has exhausted all of her options of getting pregnant sexually. A fertilized egg is implanted into the uterus during the woman’s peak hormonal fertility. IVF is a fairly new procedure, and the more research is done about it, the more risks are being discovered. IVF has been linked to cancer and is now being linked to hormonal abnormalities in babies.
3) Environmental factors. We live in an age where some sort of preservative is in all the food we eat and everything is made out of BPA. We don’t know how these chemicals directly affect the growth of babies and children, but we know it’s not good. These chemicals can influence the fetus in utero and can also impact the baby after it’s born. The same environmental factors have also been linked to increase in cancer, genetic disorders, allergies, etc.
There is tons of research being done on autism, but as I said earlier research as to why kids get autism is difficult. Any research being done on a fetus in utero is difficult because researchers want to get answers but at the same time don’t want to risk the health of the baby. There are several treatment options being researched and doctors are looking into specific genetic sequences that could cause autism. But as for research as to why autism happens, that answer could be years, even decades, away.
So how do you avoid having a child with autism? Any doctor wishes they knew the answer, but there are several ways to cut the risk of your child developing autism. Having children at an early age is always beneficially for your baby. The earlier, the better. Woman are most fertile in their early 20’s, but since women are getting married later they’re having kids later. It’s generally wise not to have kids after the age of 32, especially if you or the baby daddy has a history of autism or genetic disorder. My mother had me when she was 34, but that was in 1991 and my mother is the healthiest person I know. If you want to have a kid, try to get pregnant anytime between ages 25 and 32.
Avoid IVF or any other drugs that could influence your endocrine system. The endocrine system influences fertility and development in the woman, and if thrown off balance could be disastrous for a baby. If you need to use IVF as a last resort than do it, but always try to get preggers naturally first.
Get rid of BPA in your home. BPA can be found in any and all things plastic, and can also be found in make up, a product women are very fond of. Getting rid of plastic tubberware and kitchen ware is a good place to start. Avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles. Throw out make up for more natural, organic make up that is specifically labelled BPA-free.
Lastly, if you think your child might have autism, take him/her into the doctor’s office as soon as possible. The earlier autism is diagnosed, the easier it can be treated. Usually if autism is caught within the first 12 months of life, those children can go on to lead a pretty normal life as teens and adults.
And if you don’t like what science has to say about autism, well you can always blame the president for it.