SELECTED ARTICLE
Author
Jon Arnold 
Article Title
Defining Autism and New Autism Studies Results 
Posted Date
4/19/2007 

The reported cases of autism seem to be sweeping the country like never before, and autism is frequently seen on the news and in special TV reports. Is there an epidemic going on or is it just that autism is now gaining more visibility? Recent studies indicate that as many as 1 in 162 children have autism to some degree.

The tough part about autism is that it is difficult to diagnose. It’s not like a broken arm where you can take an x-ray and determine yes the arm really is broken. Rather, much of the diagnosis of autism is somewhat subjective, although there are definite signs to indicate that a child has autism or autistic spectrum disorder to some degree. The other tough part is that the degree of autism varies from child to child. The very mild form of autism is known as Asperger’s Syndrome. But regardless of the severity, an accurate diagnosis as early as possible is extremely important, since the child can benefit greatly from different educational methods that are employed for autistic children.

Signs of autism or indications that might lead you to think your child has ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) would be a very unusual response or a lack of response at all to noises and other people. Autistic children do not care to be socially involved with other children or adults, but rather they seem to live in their own world. Another sign is that affected children are engrossed with a toy or particular object. Engrossed may not be the right word however, it is more like they are totally 100% focused on that object, for as long as hours at a time, even an inanimate object.

Autistic children do not like a change of routine. If your child is subject to temper tantrums for what seem like insignificant events, you should examine the change that occurred which may have spurred the tantrum, since autistic children can get very upset and unsettled when their regular routine is interrupted by something else.

There is neither a known cause for autism nor a known cure. It is primarily thought to be a neurological condition and it is not thought to be hereditary. Many people believe that there is a correlation between autism and mercury contamination. The mercury contamination goes back to the normal childhood vaccinations that all children receive before they enter school.

There is a preservative that has been used in some of these vaccinations known as Thimerosal which is almost 50% mercury. Although the dangers of mercury are well known, its link to autism is still just a theory and is not supported at this point by any scientific evidence. A more recent report states that scientists in New Jersey have asserted that children who have been diagnosed with autism seem to be unable to metabolize key fatty acids that fight brain-damaging inflammations. This is an interesting find, although as yet unsubstantiated, since it is known that autism has a tendency to scramble the signals going to the brain and cause them to be interpreted incorrectly.

More studies are being conducted, but if this latest study can be validated, a virtual cure for autism could be as simple as a "therapeutic cocktail of fatty acids". Like anything else, early diagnosis is a key ingredient to finding the help your child needs to fight autism and get the necessary help, particularly during elementary school education, where special schools can provide the type of environment needed by the autistic child, whereas normal public schools are not equipped to provide that type of one-on-one special handling for a particular student.

References
Jon is a computer engineer who maintain a variety of web sites based on his knowledge and experience. For more information about Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorder, please visit his web site at Autism Explained
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