Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Moderators: Debbie Hepplewhite, maizie, Lesley Drake, Susan Godsland

elsiep
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by elsiep » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:03 am

Rod Everson wrote:
elsiep wrote:
Link didn't work and couldn't find Cannell's paper, unfortunately, but I have read Michael Holick's review paper in the NEJM http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra070553. Haven't been able to access the pdf for a while now, but it's worth looking out for if you can't get access via the NEJM website.

I think a more likely explanation for vitamin D3 deficiency is a change in lifestyle in the developed world over the past few decades - we spend less time outdoors than our predecessors did. Children certainly spend less time outdoors, although hats and suncream wouldn't help either.

I don't subscribe to the 'autism epidemic' idea personally, though I'm open to persuasion. Many children diagnosed with autism now simply wouldn't have been considered autistic between the 1940s and 1980s.
Elsie
Hi Elsie,

First, I apologize, but I lost track of this thread and didn't realize you'd commented on the inoperable link at my site to Dr. Cannell's paper. I fixed it, so you should be able to get to it now. In fact, here's a direct link to his page. (When you get there you have to click the additional link under his picture.)
.
Here are my comments on the article.
Autism Introduction

There is mounting evidence that low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels during pregnancy and early life are associated with increased risk of developing autism.

The ultraviolet-B (UVB)-vitamin D-autism hypothesis was originally proposed by John Cannell1 2. Evidence in support of this hypothesis includes increased prevalence of autism with increasing latitude, excess birth rate for autism in spring, low serum 25(OH)D levels for those with autism, increased risk of autism for those with darker skin, increased risk for autism born to mothers likely to have low serum 25(OH)D levels due to darker skin, increased risk of autism associated with preeclampsia,
I wouldn't dispute that there's a correlation between serum 25(OH)D levels and autistic characteristics but a correlation doesn't tell you anything except that there's a correlation.
and diametrically opposed social behaviors of those with Williams syndrome.
I couldn't figure out why the author referred to Williams' syndrome here.

Autism was first defined using a strongly Freudian model both by Kanner and by Wing and Gould and still is, in the DSM - social interaction, communication and behavioural flexibility are highly salient in the Freudian/psychiatric framework. Social interaction, communication and behavioural flexibility are also difficult constructs to operationalise. They are useful broad terms for groups of behaviours but it's challenging to say what behaviours fall into which category. If you have problems following a conversation because of auditory processing problems, your social interaction and communication will be impaired. If your speed of processing information is slower, or you've been repeatedly bullied your social interaction and communication will be impaired etc etc but not because of some fundamental impairment of social interaction or communication.

Social interaction, communication and behavioural flexibility are each so complex that almost anything can impair them. The pattern of social behaviours in people with autistic characteristics cannot be diametrically opposed to those with Williams syndrome because both sets of people show considerably variability in different aspects of social behaviour and not all those aspects are different.
The mechanisms whereby high serum 25(OH)D level increase the risk of autism may include protection against DNA damage of spermatocytes and ova prior to conception, impacts on fetal brain development, and reduction of oxidative stress.
Indeed they might, but this is entirely speculative. It also overlooks the possibility that there might be many other reasons why DNA or brain development might vary.
To reduce the risk of autism, pregnant and nursing women should consider keeping serum 25(OH)D levels above 40-50 ng/mL, which would keep serum vitamin D levels high enough for the fetus/infant, and making sure their infants and children maintain adequate serum 25(OH)D levels.
I wouldn't disagree with that in principle, although it would be nice to see some data on the numbers. Given that vitamin D taken orally doesn't follow the same metabolic pathway as vitamin D made in the skin.
Autism is a disease that affects both the brain and the body.

“Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities characterized by atypical development in socialization, communication, and behavior. ASDs typically are apparent before age 3 years, with associated impairments affecting multiple areas of a person's life. Because no biologic marker exists for ASDs, identification is made by professionals who evaluate a child's developmental progress to identify the presence of developmental disorders…..In 2006, on average, approximately 1% or one child in every 110 in the 11 ADDM sites was classified as having an ASD” 3
Autism is a set of behavioural characteristics. Those behavioural characteristics are associated with a wide range of genetic and metabolic disorders and with infective agents. It is highly likely that the 'autism' has resulted from the genetic, metabolic or infective disorder.
“Recent clinical studies have revealed a high prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms, inflammation, and dysfunction in children with autism. Mild to moderate degrees of inflammation were found in both the upper and lower intestinal tract. In addition, decreased sulfation capacity of the liver, pathologic intestinal permeability, increased secretory response to intravenous secretin injection, and decreased digestive enzyme activities were reported in many children with autism. Treatment of digestive problems appears to have positive effects on autistic behavior4.”
And not so recent. They were noted by Leo Kanner and by Wing and Gould, but because autism is classified as a 'mental' disorder and because children with such conditions don't always develop autistic characteristics they were ignored for decades especially by - dare I say it? - psychiatrists.

Now I will read the paper.

elsie
Last edited by elsiep on Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

elsiep
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by elsiep » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:23 am

Rod Everson wrote:
But what I really like about Dr. Cannell's explanation of autism is that he diligently tackles each of the reasons others give for the rising incidence, explaining how each of those reasons is subsumed by his theory. His paper is well worth reading.
I couldn't find where he tackled the other possible reasons for rising incidence. DSM III (published 1980) was the first edition of the DSM to mention autism (previously it had been childhood schizophrenia) and the beginning of the autism 'epidemic' coincides with the publication of DSM IV, which widened the scope of the definition of autism considerably http://www.unstrange.com/dsm1.html

I think it's important to rule out the awareness of diagnostic criteria as a factor before assuming there's an epidemic due to medical reasons. For example, my son obviously has a disability; his speech and motor control are impaired and you can see that as soon as you meet him. But I meet regularly with other teenagers with a diagnosis of 'autistic spectrum disorder' and you wouldn't know there was a problem except in specific circumstances. There were children like that at my primary school in the 1960s. You would have been laughed at if you'd suggested they had a 'mental disorder' and needed to see a doctor.


elsie

elsiep
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by elsiep » Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:57 pm

Rod Everson wrote:
elsiep wrote: A refreshing change to come across a mention of visual disorders. I think it might be worth adding something about auditory processing problems. These are widespread across many developmental disorders. Can provide more info if you'd like.

Elsie
Regarding auditory processing problems, yes, if you have a specific recommendation on reading material, I'd like to take a look at it. I'm sort of in the same position on auditory issues as you appear to be on autism. That is, I tend to think they're oversold.
Can't think of a good single source, although the Wikipedia page on APD provides a pretty good overview
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_p ... g_disorder

But you can figure out from first principles the likelihood of auditory and visual processing disorders occurring. Eyes and ears are complex organs; much more complex than tongues, noses or balance organs or even tactile receptors in skin or muscle. And the more complex the organ, the more possibility there is of something going wrong with it. You can pretty safely predict that the biggest sensory problems experienced by humans will be auditory and visual ones. And because the information processed via eyes and ears is very fine-grained, it's very sensitive to minor impairments.

The auditory processing pathway is very complex, and problems at any point, from the ear to the frontal lobes, could cause a difficulty with processing auditory information. However, young children are especially prone to problems with fine-grained auditory and visual discrimination because their eyes and ears are still growing - changing in size and in configuration. In addition, young children, however healthy, have immature immune systems (they don't have the range of antibodies that adults have acquired) and so are especially susceptible to viral infections. Viral infections often result in the production of nasal mucus and because children's eustachian tubes are short and horizontal, they are at high risk of otitis media and of otitis media with effusion (glue ear). One problem with otitis media with effusion is that it impairs hearing temporarily. Another is that in very young (pre-verbal) children it often goes undetected if it's not painful. So the parent might not notice a hearing problem as such, but the child might be getting unclear auditory input for months or even years. It's picked up only when the child is 'behind' in their speech development.
Here's my reasoning (and I'm open to reconsidering it, by the way): I worked with nearly 200 kids one-on-one, over a decade, and a good 50% of them would have qualified as dyslexic, though in retrospect most of them also failed developmental vision exams. With each of those 200 kids, I administered the blending, segmenting, and phoneme deletion tests I lay out on my website. And yes, many of those kids did not score well initially on those tests. However, I really only worked with one or two kids out of the entire bunch who didn't score perfect scores on all three tests within a month or so of starting lessons with me. I think they just needed the practice and the exposure; it wasn't an innate inability to blend, or to manipulate phonemes. They'd just never been trained to do it. If it was an innate inability (like vision problems, for example, most certainly are), then the minimal training that I did in those areas surely wouldn't have sufficed to correct the issues.
And that's because the ability to discriminate accurately between speech sounds isn't innate - it's developed. Babies have the physical apparatus they need to do it, but the brain has to be trained to learn the differences and the patterns that speech makes http://fonsg3.hum.uva.nl/paola/Kuhl_2004_.pdf

This training happens naturally in most children because they are exposed to thousands of examples of speech sounds, but children with auditory processing problems might need focused training to compensate. How much training would depend on the degree of deficit. If it's a simple case of rehearsing the differences between some phonemes, or understanding how to manipulate phonemes or blend, the child might well pick it up quickly.

When you refer to 'innate inability' in vision problems, I think you really mean 'hardware' problems - that the eyes are malfunctioning in some way. There is a greater risk of that happening with eyes where reading is concerned because the image from each eye has to coincide for us to see clearly what's on the page, so images out of alignment will cause a problem. Basically we can still hear if one ear is out of action or one ear isn't working properly. If one eye is out of action we will still be able to see OK, but if one eye is malfunctioning, it might affect the clarity of the visual image we perceive.
I know there are auditory programs out there, and I do suspect there's something to them, at least in some cases. Perhaps the auditory issues lie behind the fluency problems that would persist with some even after vision issues and phonics issues had been addressed?
Yes, exactly. There's a paper by Tanguay & Edwards about autism in which they talk about 'the whisper of the bang' http://link.springer.com/article/10.100 ... 07?LI=true
It's a really useful developmental concept. What they mean is that a child's current development could be affected by something that's no longer detectable. This would apply to children who had intermittent undetected otitis media as babies, for example.
For years though, the reading research was geared to the sort of "phonological deficits" indicated by blending, segmenting, and phoneme manipulation testing. This was done to the point of excluding all other explanations, and especially the vision skills explanation that I think is central to the issue of "dyslexia," and I believe that attitude was injurious to the very people it was designed to help. I say this because I now know that I could teach almost any child to blend, segment, and manipulate phonemes flawlessly, but as long as their vision problems went unaddressed, they would struggle to read.
I get the impression that what's happened over the history of developmental dyslexia is that visual problems were suspected initially (1880s onwards), then ruled out because not all children with those visual problems had reading difficulties. Now we are aware that some of them have auditory processing problems (as distinct from hearing loss), and think that visual problems have been correctly eliminated. Researchers need to be assessing both, because if we're not careful, someone will discover that some children with auditory processing problems don't have difficulty reading, and then those will be ruled out as factors too.

I'll see if I can track down some material for you.


elsie

geraldinecarter
Posts: 993
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by geraldinecarter » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:54 pm

Thanks for very interesting posts - though I do think that rigorous tracking of simple, decodable stories at an early age must help greatly in strengthening eye muscles. Temporary hearing loss in children, however, is a problem that often goes undetected.

Elsie - you asked me a question and when I came to answer it - I'm unable to find it. Can you let me know what post it is?

elsiep
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by elsiep » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:59 pm

geraldinecarter wrote: Elsie - you asked me a question and when I came to answer it - I'm unable to find it. Can you let me know what post it is?

Quite possibly did geraldine, but can't recall it I'm afraid. If it comes back to me I'll let you know.

elsie

Rod Everson
Posts: 313
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:52 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by Rod Everson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:53 am

elsiep wrote:
I couldn't find where he tackled the other possible reasons for rising incidence.

elsie
Here's the quote from his paper regarding the "heavy metals/oxidative stress" theory:
This last function of vitamin D, increasing cellu- lar levels of glutathione [40], may explain the purported link between heavy metals, oxidative stress, and autism. For example, calcitriol attenuates iron-induced [41] and zinc-induced [42] oxidative injuries in rat brain. The primary route for the neurotoxicity of most heavy metals is through depletion of glutathione and subsequent generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species [43]. Besides its function as a master antioxidant, glutathione acts as a chelating agent to remove heavy metals, including mercury [44].
And here's the quote explaining sexual differences (more boys are autistic than girls):
Estrogen and testosterone appear to have strikingly different effects on vitamin D metabolism, which may explain the striking sex differences in autism. For example, Epstein and Schneider report, ‘‘the majority of studies have found a positive effect of estrogen on calcitriol levels’’ [45], but after reviewing studies on testosterone, they found no similar effects (p. 1261). If estrogen increases neural calcitriol, but testosterone does not; such differences during brain development may mean that estrogen shields developing female brains from calcitriol deficiencies, while testosterone exposes male ones.
And here's his explanation for the sudden onset of autism symptoms in a normally-developing child:
If postnatal, and not just prenatal, vitamin D deficiency can cause autism, then cases should appear around weaning in formula fed babies as infant formula contains significant amounts of vitamin D on a per pound basis. Although vitamin D/autism infant dietary studies do not exist, a unique prospective longitudinal study of 87 infants, some at high risk for autism, and others not, found no statistically significant neurocognitive differences between the two groups at 6 months.[51] However, around the age of weaning, the babies who developed autism first showed signs, with rapid additional impairments occurring between 14 and 24months, the age some autistic children deteriorate, and the age many children begin drinking juice instead of vitamin D enriched formula [52].
Then there's his explanation of why autism is more prevalent in northern climes:
For example, the disorder should be less common at more sunny equatorial latitudes, at least before modern sun-avoidance. Grant and Soles found a strong positive association between latitude and prevalence of autism in international cohorts born before 1985 [53]. Recent CDC prevalence data from 14 states showed the state with the highest prevalence, New Jersey, was the second most northern; Alabama, with the lowest prevalence, was the most southern of the 14 states surveyed [54].
And the report that Amish have very low rates of autism:
The report that the Amish of Pennsylvania, who have a rural manual farming lifestyle without electricity or gasoline powered farming equipment, have very low rates of autism [57] is also consistent with the theory.
And the tendency of higher socio-economic families to have more autistic children than lower socio-economic families in the same areas:
If maternal or postnatal vitamin D deficiency caused autism, then parents who rigorously complied with medical sun-avoidance advice would be more likely to have children with autism. Parents from higher socioeconomic strata are more likely to apply sun-screen to their children [62], as are parents with a higher education [63]. Although numerous studies, especially early ones, linked higher social class with autism, socioeconomic bias in case ascertainment confounds such associations. However, a recent study found significant positive associations between mother’s education, family income, and autism and it was not clear that ascertainment bias could explain all their findings [64].
And the increased incidence of autism in dark-skinned people who have left their home countries, or who reside in northern climes:
The vitamin D theory predicts that neurodevelopmental disorders would be more common in children born to darker-skinned mothers. Such studies are difficult as they raise sensitive social issues although three of four recent US studies found a higher incidence of autism in black children, sometimes appreciably higher [64,74–76]. Furthermore, in Europe, autism rates are higher in children of dark-skinned immigrants [77]. Gillberg et al. reported that the incidence of autism in Goteborg, Sweden, for children born to the very dark-skinned women who emigrate from Uganda, was 15%, about 200 times higher than the general population [78].
Note that last statistic: 200 times higher, and one in 6 kids (15%!). I honestly think this is not just an "epidemic" created by a change in diagnosis. The numbers are just getting too outlandish for that to be true, in my opinion.

I should point out that I implied in my original statement that Dr. Cannell's theory explained the other attributed "causes" of the increase in autism. In fact, his theory explains, or is consistent with, all of the observed associations with autism (higher socio-economic class, dark skinned people in the north, abrupt onset at age 2 or so, vaccinations (heavy metal chelation), etc. Most of these aren't causes, but associations that have been observed. He tackles them all with his theory, and I find it quite persuasive.

Add to that the letters from parents who've taken his advice and supplemented their children heavily to get their D3 levels to 80ng/ml or so and have seen remarkable improvements in autistic behaviors, and I think the vitamin D theory of autism is difficult to dismiss.

By the way, I've checked the box to be notified of a response this time. I thought I had before, but I haven't been getting emails when you responded, so I must have missed it last time. Sorry for the delay in responding.

Rod Everson
Posts: 313
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:52 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by Rod Everson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:53 am

elsiep wrote:
I couldn't find where he tackled the other possible reasons for rising incidence.

elsie
Here's the quote from his paper regarding the "heavy metals/oxidative stress" theory:
This last function of vitamin D, increasing cellu- lar levels of glutathione [40], may explain the purported link between heavy metals, oxidative stress, and autism. For example, calcitriol attenuates iron-induced [41] and zinc-induced [42] oxidative injuries in rat brain. The primary route for the neurotoxicity of most heavy metals is through depletion of glutathione and subsequent generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species [43]. Besides its function as a master antioxidant, glutathione acts as a chelating agent to remove heavy metals, including mercury [44].
And here's the quote explaining sexual differences (more boys are autistic than girls):
Estrogen and testosterone appear to have strikingly different effects on vitamin D metabolism, which may explain the striking sex differences in autism. For example, Epstein and Schneider report, ‘‘the majority of studies have found a positive effect of estrogen on calcitriol levels’’ [45], but after reviewing studies on testosterone, they found no similar effects (p. 1261). If estrogen increases neural calcitriol, but testosterone does not; such differences during brain development may mean that estrogen shields developing female brains from calcitriol deficiencies, while testosterone exposes male ones.
And here's his explanation for the sudden onset of autism symptoms in a normally-developing child:
If postnatal, and not just prenatal, vitamin D deficiency can cause autism, then cases should appear around weaning in formula fed babies as infant formula contains significant amounts of vitamin D on a per pound basis. Although vitamin D/autism infant dietary studies do not exist, a unique prospective longitudinal study of 87 infants, some at high risk for autism, and others not, found no statistically significant neurocognitive differences between the two groups at 6 months.[51] However, around the age of weaning, the babies who developed autism first showed signs, with rapid additional impairments occurring between 14 and 24months, the age some autistic children deteriorate, and the age many children begin drinking juice instead of vitamin D enriched formula [52].
Then there's his explanation of why autism is more prevalent in northern climes:
For example, the disorder should be less common at more sunny equatorial latitudes, at least before modern sun-avoidance. Grant and Soles found a strong positive association between latitude and prevalence of autism in international cohorts born before 1985 [53]. Recent CDC prevalence data from 14 states showed the state with the highest prevalence, New Jersey, was the second most northern; Alabama, with the lowest prevalence, was the most southern of the 14 states surveyed [54].
And the report that Amish have very low rates of autism:
The report that the Amish of Pennsylvania, who have a rural manual farming lifestyle without electricity or gasoline powered farming equipment, have very low rates of autism [57] is also consistent with the theory.
And the tendency of higher socio-economic families to have more autistic children than lower socio-economic families in the same areas:
If maternal or postnatal vitamin D deficiency caused autism, then parents who rigorously complied with medical sun-avoidance advice would be more likely to have children with autism. Parents from higher socioeconomic strata are more likely to apply sun-screen to their children [62], as are parents with a higher education [63]. Although numerous studies, especially early ones, linked higher social class with autism, socioeconomic bias in case ascertainment confounds such associations. However, a recent study found significant positive associations between mother’s education, family income, and autism and it was not clear that ascertainment bias could explain all their findings [64].
And the increased incidence of autism in dark-skinned people who have left their home countries, or who reside in northern climes:
The vitamin D theory predicts that neurodevelopmental disorders would be more common in children born to darker-skinned mothers. Such studies are difficult as they raise sensitive social issues although three of four recent US studies found a higher incidence of autism in black children, sometimes appreciably higher [64,74–76]. Furthermore, in Europe, autism rates are higher in children of dark-skinned immigrants [77]. Gillberg et al. reported that the incidence of autism in Goteborg, Sweden, for children born to the very dark-skinned women who emigrate from Uganda, was 15%, about 200 times higher than the general population [78].
Note that last statistic: 200 times higher, and one in 6 kids (15%!). I honestly think this is not just an "epidemic" created by a change in diagnosis. The numbers are just getting too outlandish for that to be true, in my opinion.

I should point out that I implied in my original statement that Dr. Cannell's theory explained the other attributed "causes" of the increase in autism. In fact, his theory explains, or is consistent with, all of the observed associations with autism (higher socio-economic class, dark skinned people in the north, abrupt onset at age 2 or so, vaccinations (heavy metal chelation), etc. Most of these aren't causes, but associations that have been observed. He tackles them all with his theory, and I find it quite persuasive.

Add to that the letters from parents who've taken his advice and supplemented their children heavily to get their D3 levels to 80ng/ml or so and have seen remarkable improvements in autistic behaviors, and I think the vitamin D theory of autism is difficult to dismiss.

By the way, I've checked the box to be notified of a response this time. I thought I had before, but I haven't been getting emails when you responded, so I must have missed it last time. Sorry for the delay in responding.

Rod Everson
Posts: 313
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:52 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by Rod Everson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:10 am

geraldinecarter wrote:Thanks for very interesting posts - though I do think that rigorous tracking of simple, decodable stories at an early age must help greatly in strengthening eye muscles. Temporary hearing loss in children, however, is a problem that often goes undetected.
While it would be nice if that were true, Geraldine, I don't think there's any evidence in support of it. The matter isn't one of "strengthening" eye muscles, but rather of coordinating them so that both eyes are functioning together, and this coordination just doesn't happen with a fair percentage of children.

I would add that I suspect that the auditory processing issues aren't limited to children who suffered ear infections as young children.

Both inefficient visual systems and inefficient auditory systems can be the result of a failure to develop normally, in the absence of any insult to those systems. The children with poorly-developed visual systems, for example, did not suffer eye infections or eye insults when younger. Their visual systems just failed to develop. I suspect the same is true with many who have auditory processing issues, though I am of the opinion that auditory processing issues pale in comparison to visual issues when it comes to failing at reading.

Whether these developmental failures are the fault of a vitamin D deficiency, at least in part, is sheer speculation on my part, I would add, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's something to it. I base this entirely on Dr. Cannell's work, incidentally. All I did was extend his work to other developmental areas, particularly vision skills, but not limited to vision skills.

Rod Everson
Posts: 313
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:52 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by Rod Everson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:31 am

elsiep wrote:
I get the impression that what's happened over the history of developmental dyslexia is that visual problems were suspected initially (1880s onwards), then ruled out because not all children with those visual problems had reading difficulties.

elsie
Yes, that was essentially the conclusion of the extensive paper that Diane McGuinness relied upon in "Why Our Children Can't Read." I discussed the optometric tests performed on the children in that study with a respected developmental optometrist and his response was that they didn't perform the testing necessary to ferret out the children with something like convergence insufficiency, for example.

Teachers are familiar with the child who reads relatively fluently for half a page or so, and then starts to sputter, read more hesitantly, make more errors, as he proceeds to the next page. Such children might perform about the same as other children on the standard tests for convergence abililty (the ability to converge the eyes at nearpoint, as in reading), but give those same children a longer test, and the ones who struggle with reading will start to fail the tests. They simply can't sustain the effort, hence convergence insufficiency, rather than convergence inability. The latter issue will be picked up in any standard eye examination.

In essence, your family optometrist/optician is unlikely to perform the testing required to detect the sort of problems that routinely cause reading problems, as was the case with the optometrists in the studies cited to disavow the importance of vision problems to reading difficulties.

It's ironic when you think of it. Print is solely intended for visual input, yet the researchers have managed to convince everyone, including themselves, that vision is irrelevant to poor reading. And they are wrong, exceptionally wrong, as we are now learning. There are now approximately 800 to 1,000 optometrists doing vision therapy in the U.S., by my own estimation. Yet most struggling readers never see one, much less get the vision therapy many of them need.

Rod Everson
Posts: 313
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:52 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by Rod Everson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:46 am

One more quote from Dr. Cannell's paper on autism and vitamin D, which I'm adding due to it's relevance to the original topic of this thread, summer-born children:
Studies on season-of-birth and autism are contradictory, as would be expected if calcitriol deficiencies can impair brain development during either gestation or in early childhood. However, Stevens et al. reviewed the literature and found that at least seven studies found excessive autism births in the winter, especially March, (Fig. 4) when vitamin D levels are at their lowest [55].
I couldn't copy the chart, but the approximate percentages were 10 to 12 percent incidence from Nov to April (with a 25% spike in March) while the summer months were on the order of 3 to 5 percent incidence. This was on 131 kids, I believe. (I closed the paper and it's late.)

elsiep
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by elsiep » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:50 pm

Rod Everson wrote:
elsiep wrote:
I couldn't find where he tackled the other possible reasons for rising incidence.

elsie
Here's the quote from his paper regarding the "heavy metals/oxidative stress" theory:

And here's the quote explaining sexual differences (more boys are autistic than girls):

And here's his explanation for the sudden onset of autism symptoms in a normally-developing child:

Then there's his explanation of why autism is more prevalent in northern climes:

And the report that Amish have very low rates of autism:

And the tendency of higher socio-economic families to have more autistic children than lower socio-economic families in the same areas:

And the increased incidence of autism in dark-skinned people who have left their home countries, or who reside in northern climes:

Note that last statistic: 200 times higher, and one in 6 kids (15%!). I honestly think this is not just an "epidemic" created by a change in diagnosis. The numbers are just getting too outlandish for that to be true, in my opinion.
The quotations all speculate on the possible impact of vitamin D deficiency on various factors that have been postulated to cause autism. None of these hypotheses rule out alternative explanations for the increases in incidence. For example, although it's quite possible vitamin D deficiency could explain the high incidence of autism in the children of Ugandan women immigrants in Sweden, that high incidence could also have multiple other explanations.
I should point out that I implied in my original statement that Dr. Cannell's theory explained the other attributed "causes" of the increase in autism. In fact, his theory explains, or is consistent with, all of the observed associations with autism (higher socio-economic class, dark skinned people in the north, abrupt onset at age 2 or so, vaccinations (heavy metal chelation), etc. Most of these aren't causes, but associations that have been observed. He tackles them all with his theory, and I find it quite persuasive.

Add to that the letters from parents who've taken his advice and supplemented their children heavily to get their D3 levels to 80ng/ml or so and have seen remarkable improvements in autistic behaviors, and I think the vitamin D theory of autism is difficult to dismiss.
I'm not dismissing it. I'm simply saying that it's a plausible hypothesis that doesn't rule out other hypotheses. Nor does it mean that there is only one cause for autistic characteristics.


elsie

elsiep
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by elsiep » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:01 pm

Rod Everson wrote:One more quote from Dr. Cannell's paper on autism and vitamin D, which I'm adding due to it's relevance to the original topic of this thread, summer-born children:
Studies on season-of-birth and autism are contradictory, as would be expected if calcitriol deficiencies can impair brain development during either gestation or in early childhood. However, Stevens et al. reviewed the literature and found that at least seven studies found excessive autism births in the winter, especially March, (Fig. 4) when vitamin D levels are at their lowest [55].
I couldn't copy the chart, but the approximate percentages were 10 to 12 percent incidence from Nov to April (with a 25% spike in March) while the summer months were on the order of 3 to 5 percent incidence. This was on 131 kids, I believe. (I closed the paper and it's late.)
The chart http://vitamindcouncil.org/index.aspx?o=4741 actually shows a spike in March and in November, which is interesting, because low vitamin D would have not have applied to the first gestational trimester of March babies, nor to the second trimester of November babies. So if vitamin D deficiency is involved, it appears to have two different effects during gestation. Also, the criterion for autism was Wing's social functioning classification. There are a lot of questions hanging over psychiatric classification systems.


elsie

Rod Everson
Posts: 313
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:52 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by Rod Everson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:21 pm

elsiep wrote:
I'm not dismissing it. I'm simply saying that it's a plausible hypothesis that doesn't rule out other hypotheses. Nor does it mean that there is only one cause for autistic characteristics.

elsie
Yes, absolutely. Dr. Cannell's paper presented a theory, not the results of an experiment. I wasn't implying that you were dismissing it out of hand, just making stating my own feelings regarding his theory.

And I don't, nor does Dr. Cannell, say that autism has only one cause. However, if you accept that autism has significantly increased in incidence since the early 1990's (which it appears to me you have doubts), then his theory that the increases in incidence have primarily been caused by a widespread vitamin D3 deficiency (due to sun-avoidance advice given strongly beginning in 1989), seems very plausible.

And don't forget those parent letters which I'll link to here: http://vitamindcouncil.org/news-archive ... se-report/

Arghh! The link above is correct, but the one on my site is busted. Dr. Cannell had his website redone last year and I keep finding busted links due to url's that have been revised.

Anyway, here's the other link (to his newsletter containing a letter from a mother of three children on the autism spectrum): http://vitamindcouncil.org/news-archive/2010/ Note: To read this one, you'll have to open the PDF of his December 2010 newletter, titled "More Autism Reports," clearly visible on the page when you arrive.

I realize that anecdotes aren't evidence, but the letters are quite interesting nonetheless. (Off to fix the broken links...)

Rod

User avatar
palisadesk
Posts: 549
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 2:11 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by palisadesk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:59 pm

A propos of autism and Vitamin D, there is serious research going on now to explain the extremely high rate of severe autism in Somali emigrant communities in Minnesota and Stockholm (the same pattern is apparent in the Somali community in Toronto as well, but there is less accurate data because autism incidence is not tracked by ethnic group).

As many as 1 in 25 children of Somali parents is diagnosed with autism, usually of the more severe kind. However, the disease was unknown in Somalia, and the Somali emigres in Kenya have not shown this incidence. This leads scientists to suspect environmental factors, and Vitamin D is one of them. It may be that Somali women, who have come from a sunny country, have mechanisms to prevent too much absorption of Vitamin D from food, and thus in northern climates like Minneapolis and Sweden, are not getting adequate Vitamin D and this is affecting the brain development of their children. It's all tentative at this point, but a very big concern.

Here are some articles about it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/healt ... d=all&_r=0
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... and-autism

There was also a program which JAC told me about which I found online (it's originally an Australian production):
http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episod ... nigma.html
This program looks at a possible bacterial trigger.

It is likely the problem will be found to be an interaction of genetic and environmental factors, with different environmental triggers, not a single one.

Susan S.

elsiep
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Summer-born children being wrongly classed as having special

Post by elsiep » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:12 pm

palisadesk wrote:

As many as 1 in 25 children of Somali parents is diagnosed with autism, usually of the more severe kind. However, the disease was unknown in Somalia, and the Somali emigres in Kenya have not shown this incidence.

Susan S.

There is of course a cross-cultural classification issue involved; here's an example from Ethiopia

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14991267

elsie

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 49 guests