Immunizations and autism: a review of the literature.
ABSTRACT Because of a temporal correlation between the first notable signs and symptoms of autism and the routine childhood vaccination schedule, many parents have become increasingly concerned regarding the possible etiologic role vaccines may play in the development of autism. In particular, some have suggested an association between the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and autism. Our literature review found very few studies supporting this theory, with the overwhelming majority showing no causal association between the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and autism. The vaccine preservative thimerosal has alternatively been hypothesized to have a possible causal role in autism. Again, no convincing evidence was found to support this claim, nor for the use of chelation therapy in autism. With decreasing uptake of immunizations in children and the inevitable occurrence of measles outbreaks, it is important that clinicians be aware of the literature concerning vaccinations and autism so that they may have informed discussions with parents and caregivers.
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ABSTRACT: In the past decade, the number of epidemiological publications addressing environmental chemical exposures and autism has grown tremendously. These studies are important because it is now understood that environmental factors play a larger role in causing autism than previously thought and because they address modifiable risk factors that may open up avenues for the primary prevention of the disability associated with autism. In this review, we covered studies of autism and estimates of exposure to tobacco, air pollutants, volatile organic compounds and solvents, metals (from air, occupation, diet, dental amalgams, and thimerosal-containing vaccines), pesticides, and organic endocrine-disrupting compounds such as flame retardants, non-stick chemicals, phthalates, and bisphenol A. We included studies that had individual-level data on autism, exposure measures pertaining to pregnancy or the 1st year of life, valid comparison groups, control for confounders, and adequate sample sizes. Despite the inherent error in the measurement of many of these environmental exposures, which is likely to attenuate observed associations, some environmental exposures showed associations with autism, especially traffic-related air pollutants, some metals, and several pesticides, with suggestive trends for some volatile organic compounds (e.g., methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, and styrene) and phthalates. Whether any of these play a causal role requires further study. Given the limited scope of these publications, other environmental chemicals cannot be ruled out, but have not yet been adequately studied. Future research that addresses these and additional environmental chemicals, including their most common routes of exposures, with accurate exposure measurement pertaining to several developmental windows, is essential to guide efforts for the prevention of the neurodevelopmental damage that manifests in autism symptoms.Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care 11/2014; · 1.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Approximately half a million patients with autism spectrum disorders are subjected to chelation therapy in the US annually. The overwhelming majority of such cases are chelated for non-accepted medical indications. These patients may seek evaluation when a urine sample is assayed after the administration of a chelating agent and the values obtained have been improperly compared to references ranges for non-chelated urines, causing falsely elevated results. Legitimate practitioners confronted with such data must decide, preferably in consultation with the patient or their guardian(s), whether to do further testing using legitimate methodology or to simply dismiss the results of the improper testing. Bayesian principles tell us that further testing is likely to yield results within normal reference ranges. However, under some circumstances, it is useful to do such testing in order to demonstrate that there is no need for chelation therapy. Unnecessary chelation therapy is expensive, can cause significant acute adverse effects, and may be associated with long-term consequences.Journal of medical toxicology: official journal of the American College of Medical Toxicology 10/2013;
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ABSTRACT: The amount of graph-structured data has recently experienced an enormous growth in many applications. To transform such data into useful information, high-performance analytics algorithms and software tools are necessary. One common graph analytics kernel is community detection (or graph clustering). Despite extensive research on heuristic solvers for this task, only few parallel codes exist, although parallelism will be necessary to scale to the data volume of real-world applications. We address the deficit in computing capability by a flexible and extensible community detection framework with shared-memory parallelism. Within this framework we design and implement efficient parallel community detection heuristics: A parallel label propagation scheme; the first large-scale parallelization of the well-known Louvain method, as well as an extension of the method adding refinement; and an ensemble scheme combining the strengths of the above. In extensive experiments driven by the algorithm engineering paradigm, we identify the most successful parameters and combinations of these algorithms. We also compare our implementations with state of the art competitors. The processing rate of our fastest algorithm often exceeds 10M edges/second, making it suitable for massive data streams. We recommend the parallel Louvain method and our variant with refinement as both qualitatively strong and relatively fast. Moreover, our fast ensemble algorithm yields a good tradeoff between quality and speed for community detection in very large networks.arxiv.org. 01/2014;