Skip to comments.Airway Abnormality Discovered in Children With Autism
Posted on 11/01/2011 7:53:17 AM PDT by Red Badger
The presence of extra bronchial passageways in children may be a marker for autism and autism spectrum disorders, results from a novel study demonstrated.
"Autism continues to remain underdiagnosed or missed altogether, unrecognized and undiagnosed because appropriate tools for screening for autism have not been available," lead investigator Dr. Barbara A. Stewart said during an interview in advance of the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, where the study was presented. "Until now, there has been no objective evidence for autism spectrum disorder."
Dr. Stewart of Nemours Childrens Clinic in Pensacola, Fla., conducted bronchoscopic evaluations in 49 children younger than age 18 years who had autism or autism spectrum disorder and were seen in a pulmonary clinic with a diagnosis of cough that was unresponsive to therapy. She noticed that although the airways of the children initially appeared normal, the lower airway had doubled branches, or "doublets" as she calls them.
"Another way to think of this is systematic doubling of airways in the lower airways," Dr. Stewart explained. "When airways divide beyond the first generation, they typically branch like a tree, with one branch on one side and one on the other. A doublet occurs when there are twin branches that come off together instead of one, which are exactly symmetrical, in each of the lower locations that can be seen."
Because of a lack of uniformity in nomenclature in the medical literature, Dr. Stewart said that its difficult to determine if doublets have been previously identified, let alone studied. "There are no known studies in the literature attempting to define or even speculate on a function, purpose, role, [or] significance of the double take-off airway anomaly," she said.
She speculated that children with doublets may have higher airway resistance, which "might be why the population of children with autism spectrum disorder are not truly athletic people."
Although the potential association between autism and airway structure is intriguing, Dr. Stewart emphasized the preliminary nature of the findings. "That there is such a compelling correlation between a perplexing bronchial anomaly and a seemingly unrelated condition such as autism begs further study," she said. "This discovery needs to be validated by much largerscale investigations than my own."
She went on to note that research into neurodevelopmental processes, including autism and autism spectrum disorder, and anatomical anomalies such as doublets in the bronchi "should and will be accelerated." She also expressed the hope that "likely less-invasive alternatives to bronchoscopy will be discovered in the near future to justify identification of airway anomalies as a diagnostic tool for autism."
Dr. Stewart said that she had no relevant financial conflicts to disclose.
Dr. Barbara Stewart
Does any FReeper have an autism ping list?............
Interesting theory...I wonder if my Asperger’s child (and possibly myself) have such a feature...
Color me cynical. But here comes another medical reason to abort a “defective fetus.”
As a researcher (as every nurse should be), I deduce that Dr. Stewart's survey population was "cherry-picked" in order to create a basis for her problem statement. This is handy for creating basis for a problem statement, but 49 children out of a population of tens of thousands is not a representative number by any stretch of the imagination.
There are certain terms and phrases in Dr. Stewart's article that raise the red flags of eugenics. I'd be interested to see her writeup of the full, finished project- unless this is all the work she intended to do in the first place.
I’m not sure this makes a lot of sense. Wouldn’t then all autism babies exhibit signs of autism from birth. Why do some only start exhibiting symptoms at around 18 months?
I read an article yesterday that stated that the CDC had essentially ignored evidence from Denmark that their autism rates fell when they removed mercury from their vaccines.
I’m not sure we’ll get the whole story from either side.
When I was in school they taught us that abnormalities come in 3’s ..so this is not surprising..
I’ve noticed since I was growing up, I was always getting winded while playing sports. It included even today when I’m in martial arts class. I’m always getting winded.
I’ve noticed since I was growing up, I was always getting winded while playing sports. Even today when I’m in martial arts class. I’m always getting winded.
Heh. I just overcame it by just training harder than everybody else. Even to this day, where I do MAs more as a hobby than something serious, I’m always training my hardest. Stadium steps, 10 mile bike rides, racketball drills, etc.
That’s what I need to do...except I am really getting in years (silly excuse, I know)
Agreed. There was also a separate article that told of two different reasons for autism; one in the brain and one in the gut. Say a young baby is given antibiotics for some reason, that could trigger a problem. Or the other side of the coin, the baby is given a series of vaccines and the mercury affects him. I think both antibiotics and vaccines are overused.
Vaccines can be made without mercury, so why not just do it? I’m not necessarily anti-vaccine, but the number of them just keep going up up up and I just don’t see the benefit of a baby getting a Hep B vaccine, for instance, when for all intents and purposes Hep B is a sexually transmitted disease versus the possible side effects.
Interesting theory. Except they haven’t been using mercury in vaccinations for a decade and (detected) autism rates are still rising.
I know this is old, but, if thiomersal were the cause of autism, autism rates should be plunging now that there is much, much, much less thiomersal in vaccinations. Instead, they are exploding even faster, lately.
But I’ve learned that the anti-thiomersal crowd is comprised of exceptionally intelligent people, so I’m wondering if there is a response to this new information.