Autism Diagnosis Rates on the Rise in New Jersey

Monday, April 02, 2012

Walter Zahorodny, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, discusses the reasons why New Jersey's autism rate is one of the highest in the country, according to a report released last week by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Zahorodny was the lead researcher on the New Jersey portion of the study.


Walter Zahorodny

Comments [18]

mcd from NJ

It would have been nice to hear what the key indicators are. Is it pesticides in the water in our food?

May. 15 2012 02:04 PM
Amy Vee from Los Angeles

I'm surprised that a previous study about autism in NJ is being overlooked. There was a city in NJ which had a prevalence of autism significantly higher than all others. At a point in time, the government released previously sealed records and it was discovered that the town was built on a nuclear dumping ground and a landfill. I have a hard time resisting conspiracy theories in my head related to coverups about environmental toxins relating to autism rates.

Apr. 02 2012 05:53 PM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

to Brian from Hoboken,
If vaccines work so well, why would you worry that your vaccinated kids would catch the diseases you vaccinated them against?
Don't the vaccines make them safe?

Apr. 02 2012 11:45 AM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

And a few more minutes of looking turned up this correlation:
"But thousands of children cared for by Homefirst Health Services in
metropolitan Chicago have at least two things in common with thousands of
Amish children in rural Lancaster: They have never been vaccinated. And
they don't have autism. "We have a fairly large practice. We have about
30,000 or 35,000 children that we've taken care of over the years, and I
don't think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who
never received vaccines," said Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, Homefirst's medical
director who founded the practice in 1973."

Apr. 02 2012 11:40 AM
Brian from Hoboken

There is NO scientific link between vaccination and autism. There was one flawed study of 14 kids in which good scientific methods were not followed and the lead researcher tomatoey admitted to lying about his results. Yet people still cling to this. As a parent and member of society, we need to recognize that immunization is only as good as the weakest link. If someone chooses not immunize, then I don't want their kids in the same school, in the same playgrounds, etc as my children. My pediatrician points to a rapid growth in whooping cough to this vaccine fear insanity. Vaccines today are manufactured with even safer processes and ingredients than intue 1970s when I was born. Where are all the Gen X autistics that should e running around iny cohort?
Much f it does come down to money. In NYC, with an autism diagnosis, you can choose to send your child to a $75,000 per year specialty private school on the taxpayer dime of you feel te public school is not sufficient. The most ionic thing about this whole debate? Time Magazine did an in depth story a while back about how our public schools miserably fail the gifted children because the special needs funding uses up so many resources. These gifted kids are te future scientists and doctors who will cure cancer and maybe even autism too.

Apr. 02 2012 11:25 AM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

Jessie Henshaw is right.
My study below took the few minutes between my comments and turned up a correlation.
Apparently this show didn't accept calls that wanted to suggest such correlations.

Apr. 02 2012 11:15 AM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

Here in NY there are "only" 17 vaccines required for school registration.
NJ, with its high autism, requires 30 doses of vaccines.
Alabama, which he cites as low in autism, requires only 10 doses.
Perhaps the state-to-state autism variation is not due to the measurement differences?

Apr. 02 2012 11:09 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

As a systems scientist it does sound quite disturbing, the scale of autism cases is terrible, and the growing rate is alarming, especially because the method was carefully designed to not be sensitive to increased detection.

You have to ask what else has had similar growth rates, nominally doubling in 10 years. That does not include global warming, nor the economy, nor any pollutant of any commonly understood kind. It could be a bacteria in the environment, spreading locally, or something like that. It could also be an unusual sensitivity during pregnancy, to some nearly unnoticeable source of radiation or pollution or dietary change.

It's too soon it seems to guess what, unless you have a "wild guess" to test out. I have some, perhaps not appropriate to suggest yet. Sometimes those guesses "connect the dots", sometimes they're just imaginary.

What seems fairly urgently needed is some intense demographic study, to more narrowly compare "hot spots" with other factors changing in similar ways.

Apr. 02 2012 11:02 AM
Elaine from Newark, NJ

As a clinician in New Jersey I have to agree that people move here from other places because we have some of the best treatment and spend a lot of money on treatament.

Apr. 02 2012 10:55 AM

The vaccination connection has been totally debunked.

Apr. 02 2012 10:54 AM
njp from madison, NJ

I have wondered if there is a link between autism and all of the GM food that we are eating nowadays?
I don't think that it is due to shots, at least not in all anyway. If that were the case then ALL kids that get shots would be autistic, no?

Apr. 02 2012 10:53 AM
Ann Rea from NJ

Once while canvassing in Morris County I met a man who had moved form Florida to get his autistic child a better education.
and her was republican t/4 voting against these policies except in NJ due to his personal need.
go figure.

Apr. 02 2012 10:53 AM
Marilyn from New York City

I read an article in The New Yorker a few years ago about autism and
specifically one family with three autistic children. At the time their first child was diagnosed, they'd been living in a state with poor resources
for their child. Someone at the school administration recommended they
move to New Jersey. Could it be that this is partly responsible for the
increase in New Jersey--that is, that they are relocating from other states?

Apr. 02 2012 10:53 AM
MNY from NY

With the exception of infectious disease outbreaks, conditions such as autism do not spike in frequency over such a short period of time and they do not vary across state lines except when you FOLLOW THE MONEY:
a. people with children with special needs are very savvy and they move to communities and states with the best state and locally funded services
b. people sometimes want their children to have a label in order to access services (anecdote: a relative has a child with difficult behavior and he colludes with his pediatrician to give the child a label of ADHD 'so we can see what the insurance will cover')

I'm not saying there isn't any such thing as autism--far from it. But the
spectrum is so loosely defined in practice that loads of children who used to be called 'odd' are now falling under the rubric.

Apr. 02 2012 10:52 AM
John A.

How many steps are there in the ASD spectrum?
Are there more in one end or another end in different states?
High functioning Aspergerites probably should almost be celebrated, where the full-on sufferers of social withdrawal would be more of a warning sign.

Apr. 02 2012 10:49 AM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

Could it be the 30 doses of Vaccinations under the Immunization Information and State Requirements of NJ.

Apr. 02 2012 10:47 AM
Kate from Washington Heights

I have to believe that these increasing rates of autism have to do with fertility treatments - so many children are not being born the old fashioned way. Can you tell about studies looking into this?

Apr. 02 2012 10:45 AM

don't know about other states but in nj a quarter of the school budget is earmarked for special needs. that's a lot of cabbage, hundreds of millions -- if i had especial needs kid i'd move to such a place, particularly if i were coming from a poor or strapped state or country...

Apr. 02 2012 09:44 AM

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