After a couple of pretty intense nights of partying Friday & Saturday, staying up late, lots of drink, contact with lots of people -- in celebration of my 49th -- I came crashing down with a cough and cold Sunday afternoon that lowered like a wrecking ball. I supplemented perhaps another 15,000 IU of vitamin D over the evening and ended up waking on Monday morning feeling OK. I took some extra D yesterday as well, and today I woke up feeling awful with a big sinus headache and other issues. And now here I sit feeling almost normal at 2pm on Tuesday. Feeling good, even.
I dunno... Anyway, I'm going to take it easy so this will be short.
I got a supplement to Dr. Cannell's newsletter on autism and vitamin D that I posted about yesterday. There's no link on the website, so I copied the email into a comment. Toward the end Dr. Cannell references a recently published study and two news articles about it. I'll quote some interesting bits for possible discussion in the comments.
Adjusted for other covariates, the majority of areas of autism clustering were characterized by high parental education, e.g. relative risks >4 for college-graduate vs. nonhigh-school graduate parents. This geographic association possibly occurs because RCs do not actively conduct case finding and parents with lower education are, for various reasons, less likely to successfully seek services.
Perhaps I'm misreading or misunderstanding, but it appears they are saying that there's no real difference in autism rates, that educated rich people simply seek services and so it's simply more diagnosed. I find that a bit hard to swallow.
Sure enough, Hertz-Picciotto and colleagues found 10 autism clusters -- with at least a 70% higher incidence of autism than in the surrounding area -- in eight regions of California.
But as it turned out, there was indeed a factor that very likely explained the clusters. Most of the clusters were in areas where women tend to have high educational attainment. Autism cases in all of the clusters were more likely to be reported from families with highly educated mothers, Hertz-Picciotto says.
"I don't think people living in these areas need to be concerned about where their homes are. Thinking about moving away from these areas would be wholly inappropriate," she says.
The California DDS does not go out and look for kids with autism. Parents have to go to the DDS and seek services. Better educated women are more likely to know about these services -- and are more likely to have access to doctors who can diagnose their child's autism.
"The implication is that parents with better awareness of autism symptoms, with better economic means, can better test for early warning signs and find the right kind of help for their children. And that can contribute to increased autism prevalence," Andy Shih, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs for the advocacy group Autism Speaks, tells WebMD. Shih was not involved in the California study.
On the other hand, "it is entirely possible that people with higher education have some kind of exposure that increases autism risk," Hertz-Picciotto says.
Again, it's tied to diagnosis, as well as for the other article.
Well I've got a wild-ass idea. How about that "people with higher education have some kind of exposure that increases autism risk" are too exposed to modern ignorance and fear over just about everything that has made us human (food, animal fat, germs, sunshine, play).
Here's what Cannnell says in that email supplement:
The autism epidemic began in the mid 80s and tracks the sun -scare very closely, as it does the sale of sunscreen.
The neuropsychiatric symptoms of rickets have never been studied in the modern era, as, once the diagnosis of rickets is made all attention is paid to bones and the rickets is aggressively treated. However, as far as the mental condition in rickets, at least two old papers have addressed it, both published before the diagnosis of autism was common.
Hallerhan, M.M. The Effect of Rickets on the Mental development of Young Children. Archives of Psychology, July, 1938 vol 229, pp 1-67.
Gilmour A. The Mental Condition in Rickets. School Hygiene 1912;9:222 pp 6-16
Both papers describe "weak mindedness, feeble minds, mental dullness, and unresponsiveness" as being common in rickets. Gilmour found delays in speech were common. Developmental delays were common in both papers.
Hallerhan reports previous authors found "withdrawal, and negativism" as well as "tantrums, selfishness, depression, and narrowing of interests." However, both authors report that the mental condition in rickets improves with Vitamin D; that is the Vitamin D improves the brain as well as the bones.
The controlled study by Hallerhan was conducted in 1938 where some control children, and not just the rachitic children, would have been on cod liver oil as that was a common hygienic practice in that day. In spite of that, differences were noted in verbal development and significant differences noted in motor development, mental development and social adjustment.
Food for thought.