How Common Is Autism In Children?

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We're back. We're talking about autism today. Let's get to the second possible theory behind what causes autism, environmental factors. Dr. Overholt Pichoto at the University of California, Davis Mind Institute is looking into environmental links to autism. So, Dr. Pichoto what are you finding? Well first of all let me clarify what I mean by environment.

Environment is very broadly defined. It includes chemicals in the environment, it includes diet, it includes medications. It's really anything that's not genetic. So, it's very broadly defined and there's a recent finding from one of our studies that suggest that women who live within a quarter mile of a free way have about twice the likelihood that their child will develop autism, if they lived there during the pregnancy.

Dr. Pichoto, I hear all these stories. Now take this last one with the highway. How many people have been living close the highways for 50 - 100 years and yet the autism rate we talked about, it's almost 50 times higher than when I was going to medical training. So, how could we tie that to just one environmental issue? Sure, it's not one environmental issue, people are looking for THE cause of autism.

There's going to be many many causes of autism. It's not going to be one smoking gun. It's going to be a mine field but we really have to get that research going because there are so many chemicals out there. So, let me take questions at our environment. Yes Charles. I just want to know, I am not a doctor but it just makes sense that the only thing that's has changed it seems in society is the environment.

I mean there's more chemicals being introduced, more pollution being introduced in society, this just makes sense. So what I don't understand is, if we have the CDC or whoever the governing body is for this, why aren't they doing these independent studies to determine this? How can you allow this to happen to our future.

this is our future generations and it's only going to get worse. As a scientist, I'm out there applying for grant money all the time from the National Institutes of Health. Just yesterday I heard I got a really great score on a study that is looking at younger siblings of children who have autism.

It's called the marble study and it looks like we're going to have another five years of funding to look at early life for five years. If I could ask, Dr. Brown I'm going to ask this to you. You're here in part representing the major pediatric organisation in the country. We have national initiatives on H1N1.

We have national initiatives on cancer. We've got national programs in a lot of illness, HIV Aids. Where is the national program on Autism? Actually there is. The National Institute of Health actually has an autism agency which does dispense money for research. So it's happening. It's not happening fast enough for anybodies happiness in this audience nor our's because we really are trying to help kids and help figure out the cause and prevent autism.

Alright, I want to get in the third theory as we talk about vaccines, we talked about environment.