Sunday, March 30, 2014

U.S. autism rate surges, CDC reports

The number of U.S. children with autism has surged to one in 68, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday, a 30 percent increase since the agency estimated just two years ago that one child in 88 suffered from the disorder.

The new estimate, based on a review of records in 2010 for eight year olds in 11 states, also showed a marked increase in the number of children with higher IQs who fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, and a wide range of results depending on where a child lives. Only one child in 175 was diagnosed with autism in Alabama, while one in 45 was found to have the disorder in New Jersey.

The information was reported in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In a telephone news conference, Coleen Boyle director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said the growing numbers could reflect both better identification of children with autism spectrum disorders and a growing number of intelligent children with autism.

“It could be that doctors are getting better at identifying these children, there could be a growing number of children with high intelligence [who are autistic], or it could be both,” she said.

 As in previous reports, the diagnosis is much more common in boys (one in 42) than girls (one in 189), and much more frequently found in whites than blacks or Hispanics. Boyle said the racial disparity is most likely due to better reporting of the disorder in whites.

Read the whole story at the Washington Post

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