Caroline Rodgers, a science writer, has noticed some very interesting correlations:
The new autism figures published in the CDCâ€™s 12-18-09 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)Â http://bit.ly/57XRcaÂ reveal an apparent anomaly: While there was an overall average autism increase of 57 percent in children born between 2002 and 2006, Hispanics in Alabama showed a 67 percent decrease in autism.
The mothers of the first batch of children who were eight years old in 2002 would have been pregnant in 1993. Therefore, I looked at what changes might have occurred in Alabamaâ€™s public health policy in 1993 that would explain a 67 percent drop in the autism rate of Hispanic children born between 2002 and 2006.
According to the 2002 PRAMSÂ Surveillance Report: MultistateÂ Exhibits Medicaid Coverage for Prenatal CareÂ http://bit.ly/8godkv .
During 1993-2002, the prevalence of Medicaid coverage for prenatal care . . . decreased in 3 states (Alabama, Florida and West Virginia).
This particular correlation is in addition to a broad correlation between wealth and autism (more wealth, more autism):
Also significant in last weekâ€™s MMWR report were the ethnic differences in autism prevalence found among non-Hispanic whites, blacks and Hispanics. The autism rate in the monitored areas throughout the United States of children of non-Hispanic white women was 102 per 10,000; among black children, 76 per 10,000; and among Hispanic children, 61 per 10,000 â€“ roughly half of the non-Hispanic white rate.Â These results seem counter-intuitive, since the non-Hispanic white population could be expected to have more access to prenatal care than the black or Hispanic populations. Yet if autism risk is increased by exposure to prenatal ultrasound, these figures make perfect sense.
This isn’t cherry-picking. Rodgers believed that we should take seriously the idea of a prenatal-ultrasound/autism link based on entirely different data.