In this, the first in a series of articles about supposedly mistaken diagnoses of children allegedly confronting autism, the Hughes Brothers say loudly and right up front here, “We are making no judgments. We’re not qualified to make judgments. We’re reporting. We’re gathering information on every side, the top and the bottom, every last nook and cranny of medical research into Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), by whatever name shall ye call it.”
And so please. Please, please use our discussions, our reportage as grist for your own personal investigation into the various clinical issues swirling about the rapidly increasing instance of diagnosed autism in our children. Draw your own conclusions, we beg of you.
In the meantime, we will do our non-professional very best to uncover the nuances of current medical thinking – pro, con, up, down, and all around –the behavioral and developmental patterns surrounding a child you love. As always, we will try to help you make some sense of the daily challenges you face as a parent, a sibling, a guardian, a teacher, a relative, a friend who cares so very deeply about a little one whose little life refuses to conform to any number of societal, of clinical, of individual norms.
Read on, please.
Together, we might make some sense of all this.
Autism by the numbers
The numbers, their multiplication, their seeming random aggregation toward an epidemic
In the past thirty years, diagnosis of autism in children has skyrocketed from, back then, one in five thousand to one in just over a hundred, these numbers the calculations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Elsewhere in these pages, the Hughes Brothers have documented incidence of diagnosis but seventy percent of that last CDC number: one child in sixty-eight now determined to be somewhere along the autism spectrum.
Kindly forgive the vulgarity.
But what the hell is going on here?
That problematic, that slapdown nowhere word “epidemic.”
Here comes bedrock fact, indisputable dictionary-definition truth about the spread of a physical illness, the sad collective state of infection we call an epidemic.
The rapid proliferation, by whatever means, of any developmental or genetic disorder is – yesterday, today, tomorrow – scientifically impossible.
Genetics, the manifestation of at least nine months of one-on-one-on-one progression, simply cannot produce the sweeping, all-at-once phenomenon of what qualifies as an epidemic.
It just can’t happen.
So, what if it’s not an epidemic at all?
In some articles immediately forthcoming, we’ll barge into the turgid waters surrounding specific scholarship proving, maybe, that autism just cannot be genetic. Rather, the learned doctors, the investigative geniuses we are about to trot before you, will argue with some scope and some heft that what we call autism, for the most part, remains a symptom of a treatable neurological disease attacking the brain’s immune system. Autism, they will argue, comes forward as a medical problem, a disease, not by any means a psychological or developmental issue.
Rather, occurring as a result of a dysfunction in the neuro-immune system, autism rides along with, oh, AIDS, ADD/ADHD, and chronic fatigue syndrome as examples of secondary neurotropic viruses. And the damage, the deep-down damage, they can do.
Meet Dr. Michael J. Goldberg.
In no, no way might the Hughes Brothers better begin our discussion of alternative diagnoses of autism than with the overpowering, the all-inclusive credentials of Dr. Goldberg.
· Received his medical degree from UCLA and trained at LAC-USC Medical Center
· President of the Neuro-Immune Deficiency (NIDS) Medical Advisory Board
· On the clinical teaching staff at both UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Hospitals
· Seventeen years’ experience in evaluating and treating autism, ADD/ADHD, and chronic fatigue syndrome
Hang on. The ride might bump around a bit.