Thank you for this post. The Horvath paper is very interesting and I have a
copy of it if anyone is interested in reading it (write me off list and I
will forward to you). Most "autistic" kids have significant GI problems:
diarrhea, reflux, constipation, ulcers...
I agree that the definition of autism has changed a bit from the Kanner
definition. There are good and bad outcomes from this. Bad: confusion
about whether or not there is a true rise in autism. (I think that there is
at least a rise in some autism-related developmental disorder going on. In
other words, the kids afflicted have some of the same behaviors as Kanner's
group). Good: Draws attention to this overall trend of increasing incidence
of developmental disorders. I think someday that we will find that what
today is called "Autism" (really just a functional diagnosis - not a medical
diagnosis) is truly many subsets of underlying biological disorders.
I have found this squishy non-diagnosis to be more of a hindrance than a help
in identifying my son's medical problems and trying to address them. It's
like grouping everyone with a limp together and calling it "limping
disorder"; there are lots of medical reasons for limping that are quite
different from one another.
<< Recently we've had some discussion regarding an increasing prevalence of
autism. There is an editorial in J Peds Nov 1999 that addresses this point.
Drs Accardo (a develomental pediatrician) and Bostwick (a pedi
gastroenterologist) make the following comment:
"Autism (or autistic spectrum disorder) appears to be undergoing an almost
epidemic increase that threatens to overwhelm the resources of
state-mandated early intervention programs. The older published prevalence
rate of 4 per 10,000 is being challenged by rates approaching 1 per 100 or
higher. This change is in part due to greater clinician sensitivity, as
well as to a redefinition that has far extended the boundaries of Kanner's
The whole editorial (J Peds Nov 1999 135(5):533-535) is a good read,
especially when coupled with Horvath's newest paper in the same issue on GI
abnormalities in children with autism.
Len Leshin, MD, FAAP
Corpus Christi, TX