Experts entertain the notion that autism may not be a single disease at all.
The autism spectrum encompasses all ability levels; a great expanse that represents differing involvement with regard to specific autistic features, IQ - behavioral deficits and excesses that are measurable. The autism label is given as a result of the most current psychiatric criteria, based on clinical observation accompanied with measurable data from various clinical tests given by differing experts; the criteria for autism has changed with the publication each revised DSM. Some have considered that the reason for the alarming rate of autism increase - is the continual revision of criteria, through the years, as far as psychiatric guidelines for evaluation of autism.
An issue, that many general popular media reports on autism do not entertain, is that of comorbid disorders. As example, my daughter received a label of autism at three years of age. With that label came the explanation that she did not quite fit the label, but it might get her better services. Similarly her first teacher, who was highly qualified to make worthy observations - noted that my daughter did not quite fit the label. That was back in 1995. Many years later, after receiving the bests supports, at about ten years of age overt signs of schizophrenia came about. During the years that ensued after the worsening, neurological regression was a big blip that was on every doctors' radar. We could only try and help my daughter while waiting and watching. She was refractory to treatment, and we were losing her in every way. She had entered the land of comorbidity. Many condition labels were added to her original autism label.
102: Causes of Death and Neuropathology in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Medical Examiner Perspective - points out that ASD is many times associated with comorbid disorders. The examiners reviewed autopsy records of twenty-two cases over a ten year period. From the cases, associated disorders included seizures (6), mental retardation (2), Down Syndrome (1), schizophrenia (1). So out of the 22, at the very least six had comorbid disorder - at the very most ten. It is just that I don't know how many of the listed comorbid disorders might have overlapped per individual. Autism alone is a condition without verifiable cause, but it is many times accompanied by conditions that have a medically identifiable cause. A sample of the conditions are; seizures, phenylkentonuria, congenital rubella, tuberous sclerosis, hypothyroidism, hearing impairment, and metabolic problems.
It is reasonable to present the idea that there is overlap in diagnostic criteria for most illness labels; both for psychiatric and general medical condition labels. That is probably what makes sites like wrongdiagnosis so popular. For instance, recently I heard about a person who was told their loved one died from Alzheimers, but after the autopsy they found out it was CJD. Or, I read about a mother who thought her child had autism, but it turned out to be severe allergy to milk. Both conditions are labeled based on clinical observation of behavior because not all diagnosis are differential since so little is known about the conditions- diagnostic procedure like blood work, or imaging of some sort, have yet to contribute to a best practice part of diagnosing conditions like autism and Alzheimer's.
From Answers: A differential diagnosis (sometimes abbreviated DDx, ddx, DD...) is a systematic method used to identify unknowns. This method, essentially a process of elimination, is used by taxonomists to identify living organisms, and by physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other trained medical professionals to diagnose the specific disease in a patient.
Not all medical diagnoses are differential ones: some diagnoses merely name a set of signs and symptoms that may have more than one possible cause, and some diagnoses are based on intuition or estimations of likelihood.
Recently, a large group of families in the US have been denied victory with regard to their claim that vaccination caused autism in their children. Peer reviewed science and research does not yet propose known causes of autism - because all that autism is right now, is a label based on clinical observation and clinical testing which is NOT associated with known physical cause. When I heard of the groups recent defeat, I immediately wondered. Were there autism affected children in the group - who had comorbid disorders that are associated with probability of damage from vaccination? Peer review does accept instances where vaccination is the cause for devastating illness. A woman in England recently won an appeal with regard to damage her son suffered from MMR vaccination. He has a seizure condition. Reporting with regard to that story provided strong emphasis about the fact that the case was NOT about autism. Once again, as we all know - when you say autism, you haven't really said a thing anyway with regard to identifying a singular cause...according to peer reviewed standards.
MMR does present known and theoretical risk. Contains albumin; theoretical risk of transmission of CJD and viral diseases. (link) The statement is on drugs.com. Other indications are given, as far as indications for opting out of the MMR vaccination.
In Birth of Designer Cells, Human Residuals, Prion Disease & Autism there are highlights about some research and recent government concern with regard to theoretical risk of disease acquired from designer cells that are created for development of vaccination. The reason CJD is such a concern is because it has been transmitted in a variety of ways, changing the rules as it goes along.
From Birth of Designer Cells:...One source who lost a love one to CJD expresses a real life scenario from their neck of the woods, where...171 people have died of vCJD from infected meat, contaminated vaccines and blood donation. 18 blood donors have since died of vCJD and their blood was used to make 83,500 doses of polio vaccine for Ireland. It was also used to provide human albumin which is another blood product present in many vaccines. And, if this is true - we have a problem. The source points to the use of bovine serum in vaccinations and questions why it would not have been phased out in light of the BSE crisis. As of 2008, IPV vaccines, MMR 2, varicella, Rotateq oral rotavirus vaccine and Pediacel 5 in 1 vaccine all have bovine serum in them...(link)
Oh that life could be so easy as to insists on restrictive absolutes, and then make derisive statements about one or the other's ability to be right and wrong with regard to the issues. It is very fair to assume that there are children who have been labeled with autism, and also have comorbid disorder that can linked to vaccination.
The theoretical risk of CJD (a prion disease) from MMR vaccination is concerning, especially since some are looking into disorders like Alzheimer's and autism as having something in common with prion diseases. Most agree that vaccinations fall under the not always safe scenario, but then concede that a few may fall so that many will have better health. This is a rare risks, versus lives saved scenario - that doesn't work as well for those who pay the higher cost due to their individual rarity that causes them to be one of the fallen.
AUTISM IS A...
mantra, word, label, fable, question, concept, fallacy, and an idea.
Autism is the period at the end of a very long, heavily punctuated sentence, written with a pen that is running out of ink, on a sheet of paper that is running out of space.
Yet, let us keep trying!