With the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on the rise, professionals and parents from all walks of life have been increasingly steadfast and diligent in their research and support for families and people contending with these issues. One of their goals is to find a suitable treatment for the millions who currently experience difficulties, that would greatly reduce or permanently eliminate symptoms of the often debilitating disorder. Another main focus for many is the development of preventative guidelines or an inoculation that would drastically reduce the number of sufferers who develop ASD.
To achieve any of these goals, it is imperative that we understand the root cause(s) of ASD. Scientist and medical professionals have been testing hypothesis after hypothesis but have yet to discover the origin of the disorder. Medical Science and families were hopeful when the announcement was made that the prevalence of ASD in the Amish Community was 0%. Unfortunately, we now know this information is inaccurate, but not all hope has been lost. Research data obtained from 1899 Amish children ages 3-21 years was collected. The results proved that the disease does in fact exist in the Amish population at the rate of approximately 1 in 271 children. This is a significantly reduced rate when associated with the national average of 1 in 68 children today in the U.S. It’s a comparison of .0037% to .0147% but what does that mean for explorations of causation?
Research into how Amish Communities differ from everyday society is currently being conducted. The lack of radiation, radio waves, and gamma waves is being considered, as well as a comparison of the amount of artificial ingredients, preservatives and hormones added to the processed, manufactured foods ingested by most Americans. Another area being looked at is the number of chemicals we are subjected to through use of common household products including shampoos, household cleaners and pesticides. Since the Amish have no religious objections to vaccines, with many getting them as recommended by the CDC guidelines, inoculations can be ruled out. Future research should test for ASD in remote populations. A comparison can then be made with the percentage of incidence with the data obtained from the Amish Community in hopes of finding a correlation or pattern.
Reynolds, A. (n.d.). Combating Autism from Within: Guess what? The Amish vaccinate! Retrieved September 20, 2015, from http://combatingautismfromwithin.blogspot.com/2008/01/guess-what-amish-vaccinate.html
Robinson, J., Nations, L., Suslowitz, N., Curraco, M., Haines, J., & Vance, M. (2010, May 22). Prevalence Rates of Autism Spectrum Disorders Among the Old Order Amish. Lecture presented at International Meeting for Autism Reseach in Franklin Hall B Level 4 (Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA.
Crystal K. Bray, BS
WKPIC Doctoral Intern