Autism and some data from secular Europe, atheistic China and religious countries

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Important Background information

Atheism and autism

As far as medical studies about atheism and autism, please see: Atheism and autism

Nature of the data and other important information

As far as the information below, it is often to find autism rates for various countries broken down by religion/irreligion. However, as can be seen by the studies referred to above, there have been medical science investigations concerning the prevalence of autism as far as atheists.

Europe generally has more a more stringent regulatory environment than the United States in terms of environmental/food toxins.[1]

In 2013, the Washington Times reported that the rate of autism has been rising in the United States and the rate of autism in the United Kingdom leveled off in the 1990s in terms of growth.[2] The non-profit news organization Truth Out said of a potential cause of autism in the United States and the rate of autism in Europe: "While autism rates in Europe have remained virtually flat for the last decade, in the US, they have risen from 1:10,000 in 1981 to 1:68 in 2014. Many studies point to the prevalence of toxins in our environment as the culprit."[3]

Causes of autism

Autism data for various regions

Africa

Although there have been no formal epidemiological studies, the evidence suggests that autism is rare in the economically developing continent of Africa and mainly exists within elite families.[4][5] Africa is a religious continent with high birth rates.[6] African Children's choir performing in the United States featured in the picture above. In recent years, Christianity has seen a rapid growth in Africa.[7]

Africa is an economically developing country. Furthermore, Africa is a religious continent with high birth rates.[8]

Although there have been no formal epidemiological studies, the evidence suggests that autism is rare in the economically developing continent of Africa and mainly exists within elite families.[9][10]

In addition, the traditional African diet is healthier than many Western World invividuals' diets and Africa has some of the lowest obesity rates in the world.[11] See also: Atheism, autism and obesity and Atheism and obesity.

United States

The United States has a very diverse and developed economy. As noted above, it has a less strong regulatory environment than Europe in terms of environmental/food toxins.[12]

The United States is a religious country compared to Europe and it has a small but growing atheist/agnostic population (see: American atheism).

The most recent estimate states that up to 1 out of every 68 children, or 14.7 per 1,000, have some form of ASD.[13] The number of diagnosed cases of autism grew dramatically in the U.S. in the 1990s and early 2000s. For the 2006, identified ASD cases were an estimated 9.0 per 1000 children aged 8 years (95% confidence interval [CI] = 8.6–9.3).[14]

Low rate of autism among the very religious American Amish

Amish residents wave to President George W. Bush (Lancaster, Pa., August 2006)

See also: Amish

The American Amish have low autism rates which may be due to their healthy and simple lifestyle, their genetic makeup or both. David N. Brown, who states that: "In March 2006, Drs. Kevin Strauss, Holmes Morton and others documented 9 autistic Amish children, which could raise the autism rate of the Lancaster Amish community Olmsted supposedly investigated to almost 1/5,000 which is still a fraction of the US average of 1/68.[15][16][17]

The Amish have high a fertility rate and in 2012 it was named the fastest growing faith group in the United States and was projected to grow to 1 million people by 2050.[18]

Atheism in France

France is a secular country which has recently had a lot of Muslim immigrants and Christian immigrants from Africa.

On July 12, 2012, the Christian Science Monitor reported:

French scholars say, evangelicalism is likely the fastest-growing religion in France – defying all stereotypes about Europe’s most secular nation...

Daniel Liechti, vice-president of the French National Evangelical Council, found that since 1970, a new evangelical church has opened in France every 10 days. The number of churches increased from 769 to 2,068 last year.[19]

Recent fertility rate information from France: 2.01 births per woman (2012).

In 2012, France studied the prevalence of autism in their country and the Health Ministry now evaluates the rate of autism to be 67 per 10000 (1 out of 150).[20]

Israel

Israel has a modern economy. Israel is also country which is a mixture of Orthodox Jews who have a high birth rate, Reformed Jews, secular Jews, religious Arabs, and others.

2012 fertility rate data for Israel: 3.04 births per woman (2012).

A 2009 study reported that the annual incidence rate of Israeli children with an ASD diagnoses receiving disability benefits rose from zero in 1982–1984 to 190 per million in 2004. It was not known whether these figures reflect actual increases or other miscellaneous factors such as changes in diagnostic measures.[21]

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a strict Islamic country with 2.70 births per woman (2012).

Studies of autism frequency have been rare in the Middle East. One estimate is that the prevalence of autism in Saudi Arabia is 18 per 10,000, which is slightly higher than the 13 per 10,000 reported in many developed countries. Estimates for ASD prevalence in Saudi Arabia are not currently available.[22]

Autism in atheistic China

Although China produces many goods and an economy which engages in a lot of exports, it is still a developing country and not much is unknown about China which may be due to the tight control of information by the communist government.

Special Needs Magazine declares about autism in atheistic China: "“The incidence of autism in the past ten years in China is undoubtedly increasing,” says Dr Guo Yanqing, a child psychiatrist at Peking University No. 6 Hospital and a pioneer in treating children with autism in China. “It’s difficult to know whether it’s because more and more people are aware of the behavioral phenomenon of people with autism, or because the actual occurrence is increasing, but it’s a trend.”[23]

Notes

  1. What makes Europe more Greener than the United States?
  2. Autism rates rise in U.S., plateau in U.K.
  3. Autism Nation: America's Chemical Brain Drain
  4. Autism in Africa?, Jonathan Rabinovitz published in Scope, a publication of Stanford Medicine, 2011
  5. Out of Africa and Into Autism: More Evidence Illuminates the Somali Anomaly in Minnesota, By Mark F. Blaxill, AgeofAutism.com website (I don't agree with the anti-vaccine portion of the article)
  6. Christianity/Islam and Africa
  7. The African apostles: How Christianity exploded in 20th-century Africa
  8. Christianity/Islam and Africa
  9. Autism in Africa?, Jonathan Rabinovitz published in Scope, a publication of Stanford Medicine, 2011
  10. Out of Africa and Into Autism: More Evidence Illuminates the Somali Anomaly in Minnesota, By Mark F. Blaxill, AgeofAutism.com website (I don't agree with the anti-vaccine portion of the article)
  11. What makes Europe more Greener than the United States?
  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  13. Rice Catherine PhD. Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, United States, 2006. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2009;58(SS-10):1–20.
  14. Puffenberger, EG; Jinks, RN; Wang, H; Xin, B; Fiorentini, C; Sherman, EA; Degrazio, D; Shaw, C; Sougnez, C; Cibulskis, K; Gabriel, S; Kelley, RI; Morton, DH; Strauss, KA (Dec 2012). "A homozygous missense mutation in HERC2 associated with global developmental delay and autism spectrum disorder". Human Mutation 33 (12): 1639–1646
  15. Jackman, C; Horn, ND; Molleston, JP; Sokol, DK (Apr 2009). "Gene associated with seizures, autism, and hepatomegaly in an Amish girl". Pediatric Neurology 40 (4): 310–313.
  16. Alarcón, Maricela; Abrahams, Brett S.; Stone, Jennifer L.; Duvall, Jacqueline A.; Perederiy, Julia V.; Bomar, Jamee M.; Sebat, Jonathan; Wigler, Michael; Martin, Christa L.; Ledbetter, David H.; Nelson, Stanley F.; Cantor, Rita M.; Geschwind, Daniel H. (10 January 2008). "Linkage, Association, and Gene-Expression Analyses Identify CNTNAP2 as an Autism-Susceptibility Gene". American Journal of Human Genetics 82 (1): 150–159
  17. For Amish, fastest-growing faith group in US, life is changing
  18. In a France suspicious of religion, evangelicalism's message strikes a chord
  19. Autisme Grande Cause
  20. Senecky Y, Chodick G, Diamond G, Lobel D, Drachman R, Inbar D. Time trends in reported autistic spectrum disorders in Israel, 1972–2004 [PDF]. Isr Med Assoc J. 2009;11(1):30–3
  21. Al-Salehi SM, Al-Hifthy EH, Ghaziuddin M. Autism in Saudi Arabia: presentation, clinical correlates and comorbidity. Transcult Psychiatry. 2009;46(2):340–7.
  22. Autism in China: A Silent Trend, Special Needs Magazine