The number of children diagnosed with autism or related disorders has grown at what many call an alarming rate:
In the 1970s and 1980s, about one out of every 2,000 children had autism.
Today, the CDC estimates that one in 150 8-year-olds in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. This expanded definition refers not only to autism but also to a collection of brain development disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome and a condition known as pervasive developmental disorder– not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Though all the disorders share some symptoms, they are different in other ways, including the timeline of symptoms and the severity, according to the CDC.
- The apparent rise in cases triggers two burning questions for parents, physicians, and scientists:
- Is autism truly on the rise, or do the new statistics simply reflect the growing awareness of the condition, the expanded definition, and other factors?
- If autism is on the rise, as most experts believe, what is causing the increase?
- Autism link to anti-depressants: Women with depression who are pregnant or hoping to get pregnant may be alarmed at new research that points to a link between the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of anti-depressants and the occurrence of autism in unborn kids.
More research may be needed to establish a solid link, however — and doctors said pregnant women with depression still need treatment.
In the study, published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers led by Lisa Croen of Kaiser Permanente Northern California reviewed the medical records of more than 1,600 children, 298 of whom had autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). They found that the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder was about twice as high among women who took SSRIs in the year before delivery. That risk was even four times higher in women who took SSRIs during their first trimester. SSRIs include such well-known brands as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa.
What interests me most about this study, by the way it’s not the only one, is that depression is often one of the first, and lingering, symptoms of excessive toxicity in the body. A healthy mind and body supports happiness and a sense of well being. Steve