Article of Interest: Autism Rates Jump

Our team at the Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) Program at UT Health San Antonio wanted to share this important external article:

“Autism rates jump, especially among children without co-occurring intellectual disability” from Healio.

The estimated prevalence of autism among 8-year-olds in a New Jersey study more than tripled during a 6-year period, including a fivefold increase in children with autism who do not have a co-occurring intellectual disability.
In the study, two out of three children with autism did not have a co-occurring intellectual disability, according to Josephine Shenouda, DrPH, MS, an instructor at Rutgers School of Public Health and a research study manager at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and colleagues. Black children with autism were far less likely to be identified this way compared with white children, they found.

Read the full article.

This is important because recent research from the TILT Program appears to have uncovered underlying reasons for the rapid rise in autism, said Dr. Claudia Miller, allergist/immunologist, professor emeritus, and leader of the TILT Program at UT Health San Antonio.

Unprecedented levels of synthetic chemicals are released and inhaled from construction materials and furnishings, as well as from substances deliberately released into the air or applied to surfaces. These include cleaning products, fragrances, tobacco smoke, mothballs, disinfectants, and emissions from gas stoves and heaters. Mold in water-damaged buildings can also release toxic chemicals into the air.

The consequences, Miller said, are more chemically exposed and disabled individuals, including and especially children. An earlier paper by Dr. Miller found that children of chemically intolerant mothers have almost triple the risk of developing ADHD or autism.

How chemically sensitive are you?

Answer these three questions from Hoffman TILT’s Brief Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (BREESI):

  1. Do you feel sick when you are exposed to tobacco smoke, certain fragrances, nail polish/remover, engine exhaust, gasoline, air fresheners, pesticides, paint/thinner, fresh tar/asphalt, cleaning supplies, new carpet or furnishings? By sick, we mean: headache, difficulty thinking, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach, etc.
  2. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse or allergic reactions to any drugs or medications (such as antibiotics, anesthetics, pain relievers, X-ray contrast dye, vaccines or birth control pills), or to an implant, prosthesis, contraceptive chemical or device, or other medical/surgical/dental material or procedure?
  3. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse reactions to any foods such as dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, or food additives (e.g., MSG, food dye)?

If you answer YES to any of these three questions, take the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) and share the results with your doctor!