Category: Healthcare in the US

Problems with CDC Autism Data Release?

Dear patients, parents, therapists, educators and other care-givers,

You may already know that Centers for Disease Control released new data about the prevalence of Autism across America this week.

Key takeaways from CDC:

  • About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. [Read article]
  • ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethinic, and socioeconomic groups. [Read article]
  • ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252). [Read article]
  • Studies in Asia, Europe, and North America have identified individuals with an ASD with an average prevalence of about 1%. A recent study in South Korea reported a prevalence of 2.6%. [Data table Adobe PDF file]
  • About 1 in 6 children in the U.S. had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.  [Read article]


CNN’s medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta chimes in on the CDC Autism Data Release


BMI Comments:

  • The most important takeaway for me is that “1 in 88″ is “only” 1.1% of the 8-year old pediatric population in public schools. The greater apparent increase in cases is likely due primarily to better awareness and knowledge of ASD.
    • However, the criteria of diagnosis of autism are so broad (a spectrum, in fact), and getting broader in the next DSM-V, that more children than ever are being, and will be, diagnosed as Autistic due to broader criteria
    • Many children initially diagnosed with ASD actually have speech or language problems and not Autism. We already see this with a portion of our own patients.
    • Is the CDC later reviewing the cases of children initially diagnosed with Autism to verify that they still bear this diagnosis — that the initial “Autism” diagnosis was accurate or not? We don’t know.
  • We already know from our own patient evaluation and treatment experience that ASDs are more common in boys than girls.
  • We have also seen ASDs across different demographic groups – though with more representation in some groups than others. We will provide details at a later time.
  • We agree that older parents seem to lead to more cases of children with learning or socialization oddities/ differences from general population of children of younger parents, but do not see what can be done from a socioeconomic standpoint other than lowering one’s economic standards and expectations for childbearing.


There are already nearly 2,000 news articles presenting and commenting on the new CDC information and more by the time you read this post.  If you have any thoughts we are happy to hear them.  You may also call 415-561-6755 to speak with one of my colleagues or to schedule a consultation.


BMI Patient Adviser

Coming soon: East Coast BEAM/DEEP Assessments!

Dear BMI parents and prospective parents,

Although Dr. Miranda currently sees some of your children for follow-up visits in Florida, we do not offer our Brain Electrical Activity Mapping (BEAM)/Digital EEG and Evoked Potentials (DEEP) Assessment technology there.  We are very excited to let you know that we will soon be inaugurating the BEAM/DEEP Assessment system in our Vero Beach office this summer! Offering our full range of services in Florida will greatly aid those of you living in the South, Midwest and along the East Coast.  We look forward to more quickly and easily testing your children’s baseline cognitive performance as well as ongoing progress improvements. Read more »

Neurofeedback: Myth and Reality

By Fernando G. Miranda, M.D.
FAAN, Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology
Medical Director, Bright Minds Institute


The purpose of this paper is to present an objective view, governed by rigor and clarity, of so-called Neurofeedback, EEG Biofeedback, and/or Neurotherapy.

This method of treatment has been used extensively to try to treat children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [1] (ADHD,) traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders.

As a practicing Neurologist, with expertise and certification in electroencephalography and Cognitive-Behavioral Neurology, I have had opportunity to observe objectively the reported advantages of this technique.

I have been able in Los Angeles, to observe closely, two large institutions whose business is to teach, sell equipment, and clinically utilize EEG biofeedback.

I have had the opportunity of observing the clinical skills of their Practitioners as well as the overall expertise of the Program Directors. Read more »

Event: Nov 12 Autism Conference

Hear Dr. Miranda and other experts speak about autism and AD/HD next Saturday, November 12th in South San Francisco at the Second Annual Bay Area Autism and AD/HD Conference.

Catch early bird rates before November 7th!


Alternative Therapies, Inherent Risks and Effectiveness #1: Hyperbaric Oxygen

“The Rationale of Hyperbaric Chambers in Treating Autistic Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy Patients”

by Fernando Miranda, M.D., F.A.A.N.


As the diagnosis of Autistic Syndrome (ASD) grows, there are many therapies utilized in this field that had not been scientifically assessed and may potentially have negative effects on the patient.

One of these is hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

Through my years of dealing with patients with the diagnosis of ASD and Cerebral Palsy, I have found families investing in this expensive treatment and occasionally buying the equipment so that they can perform the treatment at home with an increased frequency.

It is clear from the medical literature that hyperbaric oxygen therapy has a significant therapeutic effect in infections of limbs, in which anaerobic bacteria is found. Specifically, in gangrene.

It also has a significant role in the treatment of diving encephalopathies (ie, the famous “bends” -Ed), decompression syndromes, for which hyperbaric oxygen is of incredible value as a therapeutic tool.

However, to my knowledge, there is no peer-reviewed journal in the Neurosciences that has noted the value in any situation for ASD or CP. Read more »


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