Wednesday, September 12, 2012

News Bits

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Autism may be an autoimmune problem.  In an Opinion piece from the New York Times titled An Immune Disorder at the Root of Autism.  Moises Velasquez-Manoff believes that 1/3 (or more) of cases of autism look like a type of inflammatory disease.  She believes it starts in the womb. In a Denmark study woman who were hospitalized for a viral infection during the first trimester tripled their odds of having a child with autism. A bacterial infection during the second semester increases the changes by 40 percent.  It is not viral or bacterial infections causing the problem but the inflammatory response of the mother's body. Autoimmune disorders also increase the risk.  Mothers with rheumatiod arthritis have an 80 percent chance of having a child with autism and women with celiac disease increase their risk by 350 percent!  The rise in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases is the reason Velasquez-Manoff believes there has been a rise in autism over the last 60 years.  What I found interesting is the cause for the rise of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders Velasquez-Manoff proposes.  What an interesting article!

An article published yesterday in Molecular Psychiatry titled Predicting the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder using gene pathway analysis has gotten some people really excited.  The researchers claim to have found a genetic test that can accurately predict the likelihood of a person having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 71 percent of the time in Central European subjects.  The test involves the use of 237 single -nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)  in 146 genes.  The test is less accurate with other ethnic groups but over time the researchers are hoping to improve the accuracy.  A reader friendly version of the article can be found HERE.

Amy Becker recently published an article titled We Didn't Run Away.  At first when I started to read the article I was dismayed.  I was upset because when she found out she was having a child with Down's Syndrome she was devastated.  I know it is all about perspective.  I understand the shock of having a child and realizing that the child you were dreaming about is never going to happen.  It is a hard pill to swallow at first. There are worse things that could happen though.  She could have lost her child like I did my dear Martha.  No, I do not wish that to happen to anyone.  The pain and guilt is devastating!  It is only an example on how things could have been worse. Another thing is to have a child that is low functioning (severe intellectual and developmental delay) .

While waiting at the neurologist's office one day I saw a fully grown man wheeled in by his elderly parents.  The parent's spent time trying to talk to their son but he was rather unresponsive except for the few grunts he made.  While sitting there I saw them wipe drool off his chin several times.  It made me realize that things could be worse.  That Joseph, the "sickest" of my children, could be MUCH worse off than he is and I was very grateful for the child I had.  

I was talking to a friend recently.  He knows about my troubles and that I am potentially facing homelessness with my children.  He asked how I am doing.  I told him fine under the circumstances.  He said, "Things can't get much worse can they?"  I said, "In my experience things can ALWAYS get worse.  I never say it can't get any worse because it will.  I have been lucky because so far I am still alive. If I die then things would definitely be worse!"  LOL   To me death is the ultimate worse thing to happen to someone!  If I am still breathing then I can make it though to the other side of what ever I am struggling with and things will be better.  The same is true for special needs children.  You never say it's a bad thing to be the parent of a special needs child.  You spend a moment to mourn the loss of your dream child and then celebrate the child and life you have been given.  As the sign says, "You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it!" My children are a blessing to me because I have learned a lot from them!  At the end of Becker's story she found this to be true too.

There are a couple of there things I found interesting today but I will save them for tomorrow. Hope you enjoyed the news bits!

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