Monday, October 12, 2009
Two new government studies indicate about 1 in 100 American children have autism disorders – which is significantly higher than a previous US estimate of one in 150. One of the studies, published in the journal Pediatrics by researchers at the Health Resources and Services Administration, reports that one in every 91 children ages 3 to 17 have such a disorder, as determined by a survey of 78,000 parents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is announcing their not-yet published results of a study that finds about one in 100 8-year-olds has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.
Researchers don’t know how much of the increase is a result of more frequent and earlier diagnoses and how much is a result of a real rise in the conditions. The Pediatrics paper discusses several possible explanations for the apparent increase in ASD diagnoses including a broader definition of autism disorders and a heightened awareness on the part of parents and doctors. Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said in a news conference: “The concern here is that buried in these numbers is a true increase.” Insel noted that President Obama wants to increase spending on autism research by the National Institutes of Health by 16% — a bigger increase than in any other area of NIH research.
England just recently released their first study of adults with autism. Apparently the findings confirm that ASD is just as common in adults as it is in children. Researchers at the University of Leicester, found that roughly 1 in 100 adults are on the spectrum — the same rate found for children in England. In fact, researchers found no significant differences in autism prevalence among people they surveyed in their 30s, 40s, 50s, right up through their 70s! Yet, as we know, the adult population with ASD is definitely under-diagnosed and therefore underserved.
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