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No MMR-Autism Link in Large Study of Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Kids


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My child never experienced any regression, only a slower-than-typical rate of development. In retrospect, I can recognize the signs were there VERY early on, before she had received most of her shots and YEARS before the combo MMR. In fact, I went ahead and had her receive the MMR shot shortly after her ASD diagnosis because I figured there was no point in delaying it any longer.

 

I do wish that American parents still had the option of giving the individual measles, mumps, and Rubella vaccines. The individual shots are effective and should be an option for those families who desire a more spread-out schedule.

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I agree that the vaccines should be more spread out. Having the option would be even better. With all the mumps outbreaks here lately, there's great relief in knowing that they are both vaccinated, though.
 

I do wish that American parents still had the option of giving the individual measles, mumps, and Rubella vaccines. The individual shots are effective and should be an option for those families who desire a more spread-out schedule.

 

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I agree that the vaccines should be more spread out.

Correcting my previous comment to, I would also like to see the vaccines more spread out or at least the option.

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I have also heard of unvaccinated kids that end up with the diagnosis, although I have not known any personally. I feel that genes and environment play a big role.

 

Then you have studies like this:

Large study on parent age & autism finds increased risk with teen moms

https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/large-study-parent-age-autism-finds-increased-risk-teen-moms

(Note, the study also included older parents)

 

But I have to wonder on that one as generations back, most moms started having kids when they were teens. So obviously there has to be more to it than just age!

 

Oyi, tablet just does all sorts of edits on me!

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Has anyone seen this study?

 

TWINS STUDY FINDS LARGE GENETIC INFLUENCE IN AUTISM

https://iancommunity.org/autism-twins-study

 

Our boys' genetic testing did not reveal anything here (we just did the noninvasive blood test), but I don't have a copy to see what they tested.

 

Edited comments after looking further into the genetic testing. I have added a link in post #14 on genetic testing for developmental disorders.

 

I still feel that they need to focus more attention on ways to reach these kids, where academics are concerned not just therapies, with approaches geared more towards their learning styles. There just doesn't seem to be much focus in that direction :(

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I thought this was an interesting study -- researchers have used MRI to predict the development of autism in high risk infants. It found that there is brain overgrowth beginning as early as six months old in infants who eventually receive an autism diagnosis. The study is more about early diagnosis than the "why" of autism, though. But it may be a very important step in eventually figuring it out.

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Closing notes in the one you linked (quoted below), Pawz4me. It's an interesting step and hopefully it can lead to reaching more kids on the lower functioning end of the spectrum with appropriate therapies. That's what I would like to see! It's a small study still, but they are clarifying that there is no indication that it will lead to prevention.

 

"If autism could be predicted in infants, could doctors do anything about it?

 

There is no evidence that the risk of developing autism can be reduced in infants, says Raznahan, and the immediate application of early diagnosis would be to inform families. Having a reliable tool for early diagnosis could help researchers to test interventions, because it would help them to determine whether a treatment is working or not, adds Piven."

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My daughter had a brain MRI to check for a neurological cause of her hearing loss (before we got the genetic testing results) and there were no structural abnormalities. The neurologist said most of her patients with ASD have normal MRI's.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I thought this was an interesting study -- researchers have used MRI to predict the development of autism in high risk infants. It found that there is brain overgrowth beginning as early as six months old in infants who eventually receive an autism diagnosis. The study is more about early diagnosis than the "why" of autism, though. But it may be a very important step in eventually figuring it out.

 

I had heard something about head circumference and a reflex test used together at a very specific age showing potential as a broad screening instrument. It worked only at a very specific developmental age. Anyway, it was a podcast I heard. The pilot program (which trained practitioners so that the screening was as identical across the board as possible) seemed to show that a large percentage of the kids who tripped follow-up during this screening went on to have an autism diagnosis, and a large percentage of the ones who did not get an autism diagnosis had speech issues.

 

Given what Crimson said about her daughter's MRI, I wonder if it's a surge in size that sometimes normalizes later size-wise but maybe not organizationally? (Total speculation on my part)

 

(I am not at all up on research into this!)

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I think any study that looks at younger siblings of kids with ASD (like the one with the MRI's) is going to overestimate the influence of genetics on ASD and underestimate the influence of the environment.

 

It's like with certain cancers- if you study only people considered at high risk because of a parent or sibling with the same type of cancer, you're likely to find a big genetic influence. But that's not to say that the majority of people who get that type of cancer got it from genes rather than some environmental factor(s).

 

The problem is getting a large enough sample size if you don't study the younger siblings. Not too many parents are going to be willing to put their babies through an MRI if they're not already worried about autism running in the family.

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Temple Grandin explains some of the limitations of MRIs in her book, *The Autistic Brain*. I was going to quote from her book but was not sure what the limit is for quoting, and only isolating a few points wasn't useful. It was published in 2013.

 

Anyway, here's something I was looking for to quote here:

 

" For the first time, thanks to hundreds if not thousands of neuroimaging studies of autistic subjects, we’re seeing a solid match between autistic behaviors and brain functions. That’s a huge deal. As one review article summarized the era, “This body of research clearly established autism and its signs and symptoms as being of neurologic origin.â€The long-held working hypothesis has now become the consensus of the evidence and the community: Autism really is in your brain.

 

The problem is, what’s in my autistic brain is not necessarily what’s in someone else’s autistic brain. As the neuroanatomy pioneer Margaret Bauman once told me, “Just because your amygdala is larger than normal doesn’t mean that every autistic person’s amygdala is larger than normal.â€While some similarities among autistic brains have emerged, we have to be careful not to overgeneralize. In fact, neuroimaging researchers face three challenges to finding common ground among autistic brains."

 

She goes on to explain.

 

Anyway, this may also explain why they are using siblings of kids that have the diagnosis already. Gene influence may be advantageous in this case, but the results would most likely just benefit the siblings of those that already have the diagnosis. It definitely appears to have many limitations though. So many other external/ environmental influencing factors to consider!

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My girls have mitochondrial myopathies and their neurologist said he sees link link between some mito issues and austism.  It isn't 1:1 and not all kids with mito have autism and not all autistic kids have the mito issue but there is a link.

 

Interestingly, my girls are 2 of 8 known bio siblings.  We know the mito issues my girls have but the others have never been tested.  That said, we have located 5 of the other 6 siblings.  Out of those, 1 was deceased due to mental health/substance abuse issues at 21, 2 have Aspergers, 1 has autism, 1 of mine is on the spectrumish (not diagnosed due to other issues but has autistic tendencies) and one has NVLD.  Then there is one sibling who has a higher IQ, college degree, married, with a baby.  So between the 7 known siblings, born in 4 different states, 5 different birth fathers, raised in 4 different adoptive homes six of them have special needs.  There has to be a genetic link here.

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Then you have studies like this:

 

Infant Head Size and Autism: Baby Sibs Study Shows No Connection

https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/infant-head-size-and-autism-baby-sibs-study-shows-no-connection

 

That clarify this:

"While having a larger head did not predict higher risk of autism, we did not measure actual brain growth in this study,†Dr. Zwaigenbaum adds. “In fact, recent research reinforces that there is brain overgrowth early in life in children with ASD.†However, it appears that this isn’t reflected in head growth as would be measured by a physician during a checkup."

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Crimson Wife, I think your daughter's MRI was done for a specific reason, to test the parts of the brain and nerves associated with hearing loss. The MRIs Temple Grandin has had, were specifically looking for differences in her brain and were compared to that of a neurotypical female her age (I can't remember now what else was factored in). And she still clarified that this did not mean that other autistic people's brains would look the same.

 

I think your daughter's MRI, much like our genetic testing, was useful only in regards to its intended purpose.

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A quote from the costs page I linked in my previous post.

 

"Additional prices can be added to the initial MRI procedure being performed as well, including if you or your doctor want a radiologist to read the MRI or use contrast dye, which enhances particular abnormalities on the scan that may not be visible otherwise."

 

The last part of the quote clarifies a few things, I think.

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As a follow up, one of our five DID regress (lost speech and social motivation) at the 'typical' time - again, no vaccines. The others didn't. My oldest (no regression) has a recently discovered chromosonal microdeletion 15q11.2 or Burnside Butler syndrome. She is actually missing 4 genes (edit: it's 7 actually, just got the physical copy of the test results) relating to the central nervous system. The lack of a protein one of these genes makes results in disorganized early brain structure. Her psychiatrist thinks this is why we are all autistic (and going back a few generations - we started diagnosing late because we thought our kiddos were...'normal' - for our family, they are). I can't wait to see the test results for the rest of us.

 

Anyway, not all autistics have this microdeletion - autism is the larger lake, there are many little streams that feed it. For example, it's currently thought that 15-20% of autism has a known genetic causation. Of those cases 10% have Burnside Butler...not very many, right? Even so, that 10% of cases is still the LEADING genetic cause, so there must be MANY other contributing causes genetically. So, I think it's complicated. Causation research/theories often tends to oversimplify things.

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Crimson Wife, I think your daughter's MRI was done for a specific reason, to test the parts of the brain and nerves associated with hearing loss. The MRIs Temple Grandin has had, were specifically looking for differences in her brain and were compared to that of a neurotypical female her age (I can't remember now what else was factored in). And she still clarified that this did not mean that other autistic people's brains would look the same.

 

I think your daughter's MRI, much like our genetic testing, was useful only in regards to its intended purpose.

 

I've seen the scans (got a copy when we switched from Kaiser HMO to Cigna PPO and having taken a bunch of neuroscience classes I decided to look them over) and it was a full brain MRI rather than just the temporal lobe & auditory nerves.

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Crimson Wife, I am not looking to make this personal, especially when it involves our children. I have to add though that all MRI studies have controls. Did you have an MRI of a NT girl your daughter's age at the time the MRI was done to compare it to?

 

I'm not looking for an answer or a debate on such a personal matter, so I am dropping the subject here.

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This thread gave me an idea! I'm looking into local autism studies. I would gladly have my kids participate in MRI type studies, nothing invasive or med type trials though.

 

OK, signing off on this topic on my part :)

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That would be neat to participate in brain scan studies! Last week I passed my contact info to a primary researcher of autism related issues (mainly therapy efficacy but some of her grad students are working on other things that we could speak to) here. No brain imaging studies right now, though :).

 

I'm keenly interested in changing the language around autism. I don't believe it's new, an epidemic, or a disease. I have an informal diagnosis myself (kids' psych keeps mentioning it), DH's father likely was, and I have many diagnosable but undiagnosed people in my family on both sides.

 

I think what we are ACTUALLY seeing is a new, more specific, formal way of classifying an existing group of people.

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Crimson Wife, I am not looking to make this personal, especially when it involves our children. I have to add though that all MRI studies have controls. Did you have an MRI of a NT girl your daughter's age at the time the MRI was done to compare it to?

 

I'm not looking for an answer or a debate on such a personal matter, so I am dropping the subject here.

 

As I said upthread, both the Kaiser neurologist and our Stanford-affiliated one said that the scan looked completely ordinary. And the Stanford-affilaited neurologist said that the majority of her patients with ASD have normal MRI's. That is why she does not recommend having MRI's done unless there is a specific symptom  warranting one, like the later-onset hearing loss my DD experienced.

 

I'm not a neurologist, but when the M.D. who is says that there is no diagnostic value to routine MRI's wrt ASD, I'm going to defer to her expertise.

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That would be neat to participate in brain scan studies! Last week I passed my contact info to a primary researcher of autism related issues (mainly therapy efficacy but some of her grad students are working on other things that we could speak to) here. No brain imaging studies right now, though :).

 

I'm keenly interested in changing the language around autism. I don't believe it's new, an epidemic, or a disease. I have an informal diagnosis myself (kids' psych keeps mentioning it), DH's father likely was, and I have many diagnosable but undiagnosed people in my family on both sides.

 

I think what we are ACTUALLY seeing is a new, more specific, formal way of classifying an existing group of people.

Yes, I completely agree with you!

 

I was looking for some studies yesterday and one looks interesting. It is not an MRI study though, but both my two are in the age range. There was one that was using functional MRI that my 8 yr old was in the age range for, but it had already ended.

 

And then there's studies like this, that I would completely stay away from.

http://www.burnabynow.com/news/sfu-researcher-putting-autism-therapies-to-the-test-1.2116218

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As I said upthread, both the Kaiser neurologist and our Stanford-affiliated one said that the scan looked completely ordinary. And the Stanford-affilaited neurologist said that the majority of her patients with ASD have normal MRI's. That is why she does not recommend having MRI's done unless there is a specific symptom warranting one, like the later-onset hearing loss my DD experienced.

 

I'm not a neurologist, but when the M.D. who is says that there is no diagnostic value to routine MRI's wrt ASD, I'm going to defer to her expertise.

CW, if that is what the experts say about your little girl, then that is what is true for her. The rest is all a matter of opinion though. Studies are showing that autistic people *do* have brain differences and if there is a way of helping science in that direction by participating in safe studies that involve MRIs, then I'm all for it. No one said anything about routine MRIs. Helping the research on autism by getting involved in *positive* studies? I am all for that. I would volunteer myself if I had an official diagnosis. Edited by Guest
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I'm only skimming here so perhaps this is not relevant to this discussion, but my understanding is that MRI may not be sensitive enough to provide an indication of what is happening in a particular person's brain a cellular or molecular level, e.g. with neurotransmitters, antibodies, methylation processes, etc., and may not even necessarily show inflammation in locations where it is occurring.

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Wapiti, a previous poster and I linked some studies that have used MRIs and have shown brain differences. Temple Grandin has also had MRIs (which have shown differences in her brain) and also discusses some of the research involving neuroimaging in her book "The Autistic Brain". I have included a quote in a previous post.

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FWIW, I'm not arguing, I'm only suggesting that there may be brain differences among autism patients that aren't always MRI-visible at all points in time.  Genetic differences may involve aspects that go well beyond visible structure.  And, from another angle, MRI-visible differences may not be solely the result of genetics but also their interaction with environment (e.g. inflammation that occurs to a point where there's a visible difference in structure size).  The MRI angle is interesting but not diagnostic (AFAIK?) and the condition is a long, long way from being well-understood.

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Here's another interesting one:

 

Can Asperger syndrome be distinguished from autism? An anatomic likelihood meta-analysis of MRI studies

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3201995/

 

Quoting the results, including the limitations:

 

"Results

 

The summary autism grey matter map showed lower volumes in the cerebellum, right uncus, dorsal hippocampus and middle temporal gyrus compared with controls; grey matter volumes were greater in the bilateral caudate, prefrontal lobe and ventral temporal lobe. The summary Asperger syndrome map indicated lower grey matter volumes in the bilateral amygdala/hippocampal gyrus and prefrontal lobe, left occipital gyrus, right cerebellum, putamen and precuneus compared with controls; grey matter volumes were greater in more limited regions, including the bilateral inferior parietal lobule and the left fusiform gyrus. Both Asperger syndrome and autism studies reported volume increase in clusters in the ventral temporal lobe of the left hemisphere.

 

Limitations

 

We assigned studies to autism and Asperger syndrome groups for separate analyses of the data and did not carry out a direct statistical group comparison. In addition, studies available for analysis did not capture the entire spectrum, therefore we cannot be certain that our findings apply to a wider population than that sampled."

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All is pointing in the direction that there *are* brain differences. The point is how many of these differences apply to the majority and are there specific differences that apply to the majority. Larger studies need to be done.

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FWIW, I'm not arguing, I'm only suggesting that there may be brain differences among autism patients that aren't always MRI-visible at all points in time. Genetic differences may involve aspects that go well beyond visible structure. And, from another angle, MRI-visible differences may not be solely the result of genetics but also their interaction with environment (e.g. inflammation that occurs to a point where there's a visible difference in structure size). The MRI angle is interesting but not diagnostic (AFAIK?) and the condition is a long, long way from being well-understood.

Wapiti, much like everything else, MRI technology is constantly advancing, as do the studies that use MRIs. The discussion is not whether MRIs can be used as diagnostic tools. At least that was not my intended purpose of including the studies I did. But if in fact there *is* a way of diagnosing via MRI, then how much more concrete would that diagnosis be? Many are always complaining about how the current diagnostic criteria is not concrete and they often seek out second and third opinions. I think it's the finality that MRI testing could bring that perhaps is what some are not comfortable with.

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Where diagnosis is concerned, the most significant one is the one linked by a previous poster. The one with the siblings of children that already have the diagnosis. Just think what a difference it can make if it is possible to diagnose babies! How many more can possibly be reached that way!

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